Tue | Sep 19, 2017

The Wright View | WADA Not Out To Get Us

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

The news that the International Olympic Association (IOC) requested that Jamaica return the gold medal won in the men's 4x100 metre relay at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 because our lead-off runner, Nesta Carter, was found guilty of having a banned substance in his urine on the eve of the competition, has caused Jamaicans to react in ways that have caused me to say"Huh!"

Let me explain. First, in May of last year, the IOC reported that the urine sample taken from Nesta Carter in 2008 at the Olympics had been retested (one of over 400 samples) and that the stimulant methylhexanamine was found to be present in the A sample. In October, the results of the B sample confirmed the presence of the substance, and Nesta and his legal team were invited to make representations to an "independent" IOC tribunal. This month, its findings were released to the local parent body, the athlete, and the world.

There are very few cases where the B sample result differs from the A sample result, so it would not be unreasonable to assume that sanctions would result. What was hoped was that the legal arguments of Nesta's legal team would "soften" the blow. Secondly: I now hear well-respected voices claiming that in 2008, Methylhexanamine was not on the banned list. The 2008 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances and methods contains a section named "Stimulants". At the end of this section is written, "as well as other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s). The 26th substance listed is Tuaminoheptane.

Tuaminoheptane, or tuamine, is a nasal decongestant, which is a stimulant. Its chemical formula is C7H17N. Its molecular mass is 115.217 g/mol.

 

Psychoactive drug

 

Methylhexanamine is also known as forthan, forthane, floradine, or geranamine. geranamine is a psychoactive drug also used as a nasal decongestant. Its chemical formula is C7H17N and its molecular mass is 115.22 g/mol. Geranamine was intended for use by its inventor as a nasal decongestant, but Geranamine, (methylhexanamine) began to be marketed as a dietary supplement and became the active ingredient in "party pills" "herbal highs", "dance pills", or "natural power".

Previously, the main ingredient of these pills was benzylpiperazine (BZP), but because of its tendency to produce migraine headaches in users, the manufacturers switched to geranamine, which gave the same high as BZP but with no migraine. However, natural geranium comprises only 0.66 % of geranium oil, whereas synthetic geranium is quite different and more potent. Methylhexanamine (gerana-mine) then found its way into supplements, particularly one known as "Muscle Speed," which was advertised as being guaranteed to improve speed!

Thirdly, I hear well-respected voices claiming that methlyhexanamine could not possibly improve athletic speed. Well the users (athletes) obviously believe that it does. On the WADA website, there is information that 29 athletes have tested positive for methylhexanamine and have been sanctioned. Thirteen were listed as "sprinters", four were hurdlers, one shot putter, one discus thrower, one long jumper, and one pole vaulter, disciplines that require speed to be successful. Four were listed as middle-distance runners (400 to 800 metres), three were long distance runners, and one was a steeple chaser.

So while the nation grieves and supports the possibility of a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (already there are pledges to assist in the cost of such a venture), "experts" should be very careful in disseminating information to the public that may cause the feeling that "men in suits" with a "get Jamaica" agenda have at last found a way to tarnish the reputation of a nation that has consistently produced the fastest athletes in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The IAAF, the IOC, WADA, and clean athletes themselves are united in a determination to identify and sanction ANY athlete found to have used a banned substance.

 

Modern methods

 

Banned substances previously undetected may now be detected using more modern methods and procedures, so none shall escape. The return of an Olympic gold medal garnered in a relay in 2008 can in no way tarnish the legacy of the greatest athlete of all time, the legendary Usain Bolt. So as a famous athlete once said: "Relax!" The vast majority of our athletic performers are clean and will continue to win medal after medal in international competition. They just need to be "encouraged" to attend and LEARN the frequent exhortations from JADCO regarding the inadvisability of taking supplements.