Sun | May 28, 2017

Top level team in Smikle's corner

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2015 | 6:00 AMLeighton Levy
Traves Smikle

Dr Rachel Irving, senior research fellow in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, and Professor Wayne McLaughlin, full professor of molecular biology in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (Mona), will be called as witnesses when national discus record holder Traves Smikle appears before the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Bay Street in Toronto, Canada, today.

Smikle, who tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) at Jamaica's national championships to select a team to the IAAF World Athletic Championships in Moscow, almost two years ago, will be seeking to overturn a two-year drug ban imposed on him by a Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel in June 2014.

His attorney, Dr Emir Crowne, who is being assisted by Bryan McCutcheon and Miganoush Megardichian, intends to ask that the two-year ban be eliminated in its entirety, as their client bears no fault for the presence of HCTZ in his sample, or failing that, a reprimand and no period of ineligibility.

At the national championships, Smikle was one of two athletes - Allison Randall being the other - who tested positive for the substance used by athletes to lose weight or to mask the use of anabolic steroids. Smikle, however, has maintained his innocence and insists that his sample was contaminated because of poor sample collection by a doping control officer of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency's International Testing Standards and its 2011 Regulations, should an athlete require more than one attempt to produce the required amount of urine needed for testing, each of those attempts must be produced in separate partial sample kits. Those standards were not adhered to when Smikle's samples were being collected.

To bolster their case, Dr Crowne et al also intend to demonstrate the significant disparity between athletes testing positive for HCTZ in Jamaica and the rest of the world. During a two-month period in 2013, three per cent of Jamaica's athletes tested positive for that diuretic, a figure that is 60 times higher than global levels, which were at 0.05 per cent.

Smikle's initial appeal before a Jamaica Anti-Doping Tribunal in February this year failed as, according to the panel, the athlete did not provide any new evidence to support his case.