Five Jamaican runners fail doping tests
July 25, 2009
Five Jamaican track and field athletes have tested positive for doping, although a newspaper reported none of the nation's premier sprinters is among the group.
Track's governing body confirmed on Friday that it received paperwork about the tests from the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission. IAAF spokesman Nick Davies did not identify the athletes or the drug.
Herb Elliott of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission told Radio Jamaica that four men and one woman have been informed of the results and will have an opportunity to contest them at a hearing. They tested positive at last month's national championships and all of them were chosen for the 46-member team representing Jamaica at next month's world championships in Berlin, Elliott said.
The Jamaica Observer, citing unidentified sources, said they did not include any of the top sprinters. The newspaper reported there were two members of the men's 4x100 relay team, two on the men's 4x400 metre relay and a female 4x100 relay runner.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt said he was not concerned.
"As long as I'm clean I'm just going forward," Bolt said after winning the 100 metres at the London Grand Prix. "It's sad for the sport because the sport was getting on so well. I was trying to bring it back. This is probably a step backwards because people start questioning everybody, especially from Jamaica.
"For me it doesn't matter because I will be going out there, day after day, doing my best. I get tested all the time. It shows that people get tested and they get caught if they are on drugs."
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding called a meeting with top athletics officials to discuss the situation, government spokesman Ken Jones said.
Success in athletics is a source of national pride in the Caribbean nation whose sprinters dominated the Beijing Olympics.
"I'm heartbroken because you never want anybody from your country or your team to ever be tested positive," Aleen Bailey said after the women's 200 at the London GP. "It hurts when it's someone from your country, so it's kind of hard for me right now."
Jamaican sprinter Julien Dunkley was dropped from the team a year ago after testing positive for the banned drug Boldenone during the Olympic trials. Dunkley, who said he was innocent, also was banned for two years by the IAAF.
Former 100-metre world record-holder Asafa Powell said "it's their bad luck."
"It's not for me to worry about," he said. "It doesn't affect me one bit. People might be saying bad stuff now but it doesn't really bother me."