Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Fenlator-Victorian seeks leniency - History-making bobsled driver awaits sentencing after anti-doping violation

Published:Thursday | August 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian steers the Jamaican sled down the track during a training run for the women's bobsled competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) have submitted what they believe is a 'strong case' to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), seeking leniency ahead of sentencing, in her anti-doping violation case.

The international body is expected to rule on the matter within four weeks, and the JBSF is anticipating a positive outcome.

Fenlator-Victorian tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol in January, but her lawyers and the president of the JBSF, Chris Stokes, believe that the small amount that was found in the USA-based athlete's system indicates that her objective was not to gain an unfair advantage.

"When you look at the nature of the substance and the amount that was detected, a very minimal level, when you take into consideration that she was tested weeks after that (positive test) and nothing was there, I believe we have a strong case," Stokes told The Gleaner yesterday.


Awaiting a Response


Stokes said that the documents were presented to the IBSF six weeks ago, and they now await a response.

"We just have to wait on them now to reply and say whether they will not hand out a ban or reduce it," Stokes said.

Fenlator-Victorian, who is an experienced driver,and who also represented the United States at the Winter Olympics in 2014 before switching allegiance to Jamaica, is facing a maximum ban of four years.

The 32-year-old, along with Carrie Russell, came to national prominence earlier this year when they became the first Jamaican women to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where they finished 18th out of 19 teams in the women's bobsleigh competition.

Their achievement commanded tremendous international attention with predictable comparisons to the country's first Winter Olympics appearance in 1988, when it fielded a four-man bobsled team, of which Stokes was a member.

Stokes, meanwhile, is backing the Jamaican bobsleigh programme to continue to make strides regardless of the outcome of this, its latest challenge.

"This is not the first time we as a federation are faced with difficult situations. It would be great if we could clear our name, but if that does not happen, the federation will not end," Stokes said.

Clenbuterol is widely used to treat respiratory issues, but as a stimulant, influences an increase in aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, blood pressure, and oxygen transportation.