Mon | Jun 24, 2019

Free to slide again - Fenlator-Victorian’s ban lifted by international bobsleigh body

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 12:27 AMAkino Ming - Staff Reporter

Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian (front) settles into the sled during Jamaica’s first heat in the women’s two-man bobsled competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian (front) settles into the sled during Jamaica’s first heat in the women’s two-man bobsled competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has lifted the provisional suspension, which was placed on history-making Jamaican Olympian Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, who registered an adverse analytical finding for a banned substance at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

The Sunday Gleaner recently obtained documentation from the IBSF, which outlined that the 32-year-old’s suspension was lifted on March 9 of this year, bringing to an end the threat of a possible four-year ban for the Jamaican driver.

Fenlator-Victorian, who, along with brakeman Carrie Russell became the first women to represent Jamaica at a Winter Olympic Games when they featured in the bobsleigh competition at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea in December 2018, was provisionally suspended after she tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol in early March 2018, shortly after the Games ended.

However, her legal team, along with president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) Chris Stokes, contended from the onset that the nature of the substance and the small amount that was found in the USA-based athlete’s system indicated that her objective was not to gain an unfair advantage, a key argument in their appeal to the IBSF.

In a letter dated March 7, 2019, and addressed to Fenlator-Victorian and copied to Stokes, the IBSF outlined that the provisional suspension had been lifted on the acceptance by Fenlator-Victorian and her legal team of certain unspecified terms while noting the alternative dispute resolution process.

“We have been informed by our legal counsel that you (Fenlator-Victorian) accept to settle your case by terms proposed by the IBSF to your counsel on March 2, 2019. Article 7.10.1 ADR requires to state the full reasons of the agreement. While the drafting and signing of the agreement may take a few days, the IBSF is ready to lift your provisional suspension as of March 9, 2019,” the document read.

Neither Fenlator-Victorian or Stokes was available for a comment on the matter, however, Stokes, in an earlier interview, expressed confidence that their case would be met favourably.

STRONG CASE

“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 last year.

Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell dominated much of the attention in Pyeongchang, with fans and pundits likening their achievements to the island’s first-ever Winter Olympics appearance during the 1988 Games in Calgary, where a team, which included Stokes, featured in the four-man bobsleigh competition.

Fenlator-Victorian and Russell finished 18th out of the 19 competing teams in Pyeongchang.

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

akino.ming@gleanerjm.com