Forbes hit with three-month ban
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Former national netball captain, Simone Forbes, was yesterday slapped with a three-month ban by the disciplinary committee of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO).
Her suspension was announced by JADCO's three-man disciplinary committee yesterday, following a review of her medical report and other evidence given when the committee sat for the first time on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Forbes sat quietly during the proceedings as chairman Kent Gammon read the committee's verdict at the hearing which was held at the Institute of Jamaica on East Street in Kingston.
Forbes, whose suspension will run from April 18 to July 18, is banned from all netball competitions, and will miss the World Championships in Singapore where she was expected to be a key player for Jamaica's Sunshine Girls.
Forbes returned an adverse analytical finding following an out-of-competition test last month. She tested positive for clomiphene, a drug listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2011 list of banned substances under Section Four - 'Hormone Antagonists and Modulators'. Clomiphene, also known by its chemical name, 'clomid', is a common selective receptor modulator that is used quite frequently by steroid users.
Gammon told The Gleaner that, after reviewing the evidence against Forbes, his panel came up with the 'right decision' to suspend the athlete.
"We made a just decision that was in keeping with the administration of justice," said Gammon.
"We took everything into consideration and made a decision that we thought was right and fair and in keeping with the act," he said.
Gammon added: "We want all athletes that compete on a national level to ensure that they check the WADA prohibited list on a regular basis, and if any athlete is on any medication of a therapeutic nature, they must ensure that they get the therapeutic exemption through JADCO."
Earlier, Professor Joseph Frederick, who specialises in reproductive medicine at the University Hospital of the West Indies, said the positive finding was a result of treatment that he
administered to Forbes, following a pelvic surgery. Frederick told the commission he was unaware the drug was on WADA's list of banned substances.
Forbes, who testified in her defence at the hearing, said she could not recall seeing WADA's list of banned substances, and she was not aware that the drug given to her was a performance-enhancing substance.
"I trust my doctor, and he knew I was a member of the national team," said Forbes, who added that she had planned to retire after the July 3-10 World Championships in Singapore.
"I intend to retire after the World Championships in July, and if knew that this drug would have caused this, I would have taken the necessary precautionary measures to avoid something like this," Forbes said. However, after the judgement was handed down, she declined to comment on her ban.
The other members of Gammon's panel were Olympian Juliet Cuthbert and Dr Peter Charles.
In a quick response, Marva Bernard, president of the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA), said Forbes' ban was a big blow for the Sunshine Girls' team.
"It is disappointing for all of us who know and love Simone and her contribution to the team," said Bernard.
She added: "We have a tournament going on now and the girls are playing their hearts out without their inspirational team leader, but we cannot lose sight of our goals, because we still believe that we have a team with depth, and we are going to the World Netball Championships to compete at our best."