Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Editorial | Carter must go to CAS

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica's athletics establishment is obliged not merely to support, but aggressively champion, an appeal by Nesta Carter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against his conviction by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a doping violation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There are myriad reasons why this should be so.

First, Jamaicans are heavily invested in this matter for Carter's case calls into question the credibility of the island's athletics and athletes. That is deserving of a fulsome and robust defence to the highest level. National sentiment, including the Usain Bolt factor, is wrapped up in this.

The performances of Jamaica's track and field athletes are beyond the size of its population, or its obvious capacity to invest in supporting infrastructure. Indeed, Bolt isn't merely the world record holder in the 100 and 200 metres and, until last week, owner of nine Olympic gold medals. For the better part of a decade, he has been the pristine face of a sport tarnished by doping scandals.

Nesta Carter has been among his supporting acts. Carter has won individual medals at global games. He was part of Jamaica's 4x100m relay team, with Bolt, that set world records and won medals. One of those medals, from Beijing, is now under threat, unless the ruling against Carter is reversed.

At the Beijing Games, Nesta Carter, as was the case with other Jamaican athletes, returned negative results for all his doping tests. But last year, the IOC, making use of advancing laboratory technologies, retested urine samples of eight years ago. This time, Carter returned a positive result for the prohibited stimulant methylhexaneamine.

While they may not openly celebrate, many in global athletics will welcome the perceived blemish on Jamaica, seeing it as vindication of long-held scepticism of this small country's capacity to perennially generate so many world-class athletes. There is a sense among some that the Carter affair, as well as the potential loss of the Beijing relay medal, diminishes Bolt.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association and the Jamaica Olympic Association, as the custodians of the sport in Jamaica, have an obligation to be certain that Carter - as would be the case with any other athlete under their jurisdiction - has full access to all the rights of exculpation, not least the application of natural justice.

And there are questions to litigate at the CAS.




There is, in the disciplinary panel's report, for instance, the absence of a scientific basis for their seemingly uncritical acceptance of metabolic integrity, after nearly a decade, of retested samples. It is surprising, too, that no documentation is available from the 2008 Beijing test of Carter's urine sample, as well as the IOC's a priori declaration, when Carter's lawyer requested the data, that "such documentation would not be relevant in the present proceedings".

We are perplexed, too, by the fact that while the IOC had decided on the long-term maintenance of samples for retesting, shoddy arrangements were in place for the management, storage and transportation of A-samples from Beijing to a laboratory in Lausanne. There may be questions, too, to be asked about the legality, if not the efficacy, of splitting up the original B-sample into two for the 2016 test and verification.

There seem, to us, to be more gaps in Carter's case than Veronica Campbell-Brown's, in which she was vindicated at the CAS.