NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC):
BAHAMIAN OLYMPIC gold medallist Debbie Ferguson has launched a scathing assault on disgraced American sprinter Marion Jones, following the sprinter's confession that she used performance-enhancing drugs.
Ferguson, who won gold in the 4x100m relay at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, said Jones deserved jail time for having cheated other athletes.
"She needs to go to jail. That's just how I feel. She robbed Pauline (Davis-Thompson) of her gold medal in Sydney, she robbed me of my gold medal in Edmonton," Ferguson contended.
"And it's not even necessarily about the money, which is important, but I never got a chance - the Olympics, yes, with the relay - but as far as the World Championships (is concerned), getting to hear your national anthem. That moment like, 'oh my God, I'm number one, this is it.
"She robbed me of that, so you know what, she needs to go to jail. That's just how I feel." At the Edmonton World Championships, Jones clocked 22.39 seconds to beat Ferguson into second in 22.52 seconds. In the 200m in Sydney, Jones ran a season's best 21.84 seconds forcing Bahamian Davis-Thompson into the runners-up spot.
Jones admitted last Friday to using steroids and lying to federal investigators in a subsequent investigation. She also announced her retirement from athletics.
Ferguson, a former Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games sprint champion, said she felt no remorse for Jones whom she said she had admired. "I gave a speech at the IAAF and I said my stance and how I feel when it came to drugs and athletes," the 31-year old said.
"We all work so hard, we train so hard and for an athlete that I, even though we were the same age roughly, I looked up to and respected.
"We've had so many interviews and asking her 'are you taking drugs?' and she said 'no, I've never taken drugs' and now this. I cannot feel any remorse, any remorse for Marion Jones," said Ferguson, who plans to retire after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.