Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Foster's Fairplay | Being Fair About Carter Ruling

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Following the implementation of the 10-year retroactive drug testing, Jamaica's sprint relay lead-off athlete from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nesta Carter, now finds his career at a crossroads. According to the dictates of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the positive result implicates all the members of the gold medal squad.

Automatically, they have all been taken down in one wave of the agency's wand. As such, to cement the verdict, the legendary Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Michael Frater, and alternate, Dwight Thomas have been requested, along with Carter, to surrender their medals and other paraphernalia that accompanied them. The move by the IOC is in keeping with its ongoing resolve that drug cheats must be caught and sanctioned.

In a previous comment, Foster's Fairplay supported the action by the authorities. Given the introduction of new technology, there was, and still is, no difficulty, in utilising same to protect not only the integrity of the sport, but also the clean athletes. These are the ones who strive to compete without the help of performance-enhancing substances. Those who trod illicit paths to success should always be fearful of detection somewhere down the road. It cannot be that having got through the first line of defence set up by the law enforcers that a clean getaway is assured.

With that said, there is a slew of variables that needs to be considered. The main argument cited by persons opposed to the punishment is whether the offending drug, methylhexaneamine, a stimulant, was listed among the prohibited items at the time of first testing in 2008. That was easily answered by the response that on the prohibited list, mention is made that related substances with the same chemical structure and biological properties would also attract sanctions.

The Carter advisory group has said that the matter will be taken to the final appellate body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). This has to be done within 21 days of the order that he be disqualified. One of the main pillars of its argument is expected to be that the stipulation as to what should be included as punishable is not specific enough. In order to assist Carter to walk free, and although sticking to his decision to remain in retirement, former Prime Minister, The Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, an avid sports fan and critic, is promising to add his legal nous to the defence strategy.

 

Legend's loss

 

There is a lobby that questions the media of the entire world, zeroing in on the triple trebler, Usain Bolt, in its reporting on the withdrawal of medals. Every story on the occurrence is headlined by the legend's loss of one of his nine gold medals. It is being said that the big man has done nothing to deserve this as he was unknowingly consumed by a situation in which he is not the miscreant.

Well, that is the nature of media. Bolt is the name universally known, and no self-respecting news reporter would go for the actual perpetrator and risk the question, "Nesta who?"

Obviously, there will be repercussions as the country faces the music of the verdict and the inevitable follow-up. The President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, in his summation of the matter, does not think it will be injurious to the country's image in the sport. This depicts his view: "This is something that happened from 2008, so I don't think it will have an effect on Jamaica's reputation going forward."

This assessment runs counter to this columnist's view. The besmirching of a reputation has little to do with the truth or the passage of time. Let CAS rule on that. Blake's comment seems unaligned to reality. This, as it has been stated from well-known sources that Jamaica is soft on drug-testing protocols and, by extension, ferreting out drug violators. The nation's detractors are sure to be screaming out a series of "I told you so's" or to speak more colloquially, "See it deh, dem ketch anedda one."

Think again, Dr Blake. There is some sanitisation to be done.

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