I don't trust the system - VCB
QUEENS, New York:
ONE of the world's leading athletes, Veronica Campbell-Brown, says based on her own experience, she distrusts the way anti-doping measures are effected.
At the National Championships in 2013, Campbell-Brown returned a positive test for diuretics (lasix) and was provisionally suspended. She denied knowingly taking banned substances and was later cleared (October 2, 2013) by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and issued a public warning.
The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the sport's world governing body, appealed the decision, but the Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) cleared Campbell-Brown of all doping charges, citing the JAAA's testing procedures for not being complicit with international standards.
As a consequence of that experience, she has no faith in the system and is urging fellow athletes to be honest and arm themselves with enough information to avoid making incorrect decisions pertaining to doping.
Seventeen-time Olympic and World Championships medallist Campbell-Brown was in New York at the weekend where she was a guest of honour at the 21st Children of Jamaica Outreach yearly function and presented with its Humanitarian Award for her work as a philanthropist.
While here to collect her award, she was asked about a couple of current drug-related happenings in her sport, one relating to the Russian Federation - and, by extension, its athletes - being banned from competition after a systematic doping programme was uncovered; and corruption allegations against former IAAF president, Senegal's Lamine Diack.
"I tend not to judge people," she said, when asked if the IAAF's first-time decision to ban an entire country's athletes from competition was unfair.
"You never know what's going on, and based on my experiences, which I really don't want to go into, I really do not trust the system, and I won't ever trust the system and that's the most I want to say," Campbell-Brown stated firmly.
"But I do believe that God has blessed a lot of people and there are a lot of talented people out there, and the great talent that we have makes for great competition, but that's all I'm going to say about that.
"The federation made their ruling and I don't know all the information they have to make that ruling," she added.
Diack is alleged to have taken bribes totalling more than US$1 million as part of a cover-up for Russia's doping issues.
"I do not know the president personally, so there's nothing I can say on that matter," was the Jamaican sprinter's offering on that topic.
She said the bad news isn't good for track and field.
"I do not follow the negative part of my sport too much, because it is not good for us, it's not good for the upliftment of the sport," the 33-year-old pointed out.
"Track and field needs more support, we need more sponsors, and with the negative publicity that we're getting, it's not helping us, so I tend to just stay focused on me and I just pray that people will be honest in what they're doing ."