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Mullings' D-Day next Monday

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

Monday, August 22 has been set as the date when a three-member Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) disciplinary panel is to hear from representatives of suspended sprinter Steve Mullings why traces of a masking agent turned up in his urine sample.

News broke last week that Mullings, the third fastest man in the world this year, failed a doping test administered during the national championships held at the end of June to select Jamaica's team to the 14 IAAF World Athletics Championships set to begin in Daegu, South Korea, in 11 days, time. Mullings' 'B' sample is to be tested today in Montreal.

Head of the panel attorney-at-law Kent Gammon, FIFA referee Peter Prendergast and Dr Japheth Ford are expected to hear how and why the masking agent believed to be furosemide ended up in the sample.

Furosemide is a diuretic used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and edema. It is most commonly marketed by Sanofi-Aventis under the brand name Lasix. Along with some other diuretics, furosemide is also included on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned drug list due to its alleged use as a masking agent for other drugs. JADCO is yet to confirm the name of the masking agent.

Exemption certificate

There have been media reports suggesting that Mullings may have been taking the drug to control his asthma. The sprinter has been known to have asthma attacks especially when competing in poor weather conditions. If that is indeed the case, the panel will most likely want to hear why he was not in possession of a Therapeutic Use Exemption certificate.

Mullings, who was previously suspended for having elevated levels of testosterone in his system during the 2004 national championships, had managed to engineer a successful return to the sport. He finished fifth in the 200m at the IAAF World Championships in 2009, the event won by Usain Bolt in a world record 19.19 seconds. Mullings ran a personal best 19.98 in that race. He was also a member of the sprint relay team that set a championship record while winning the gold medal.

But it was this year that Mullings delivered the goods, putting down times of 9.80, 9.89, 9.93, 9.95 and 9.98, some of the fastest this year. He was expected to be a factor at the upcoming world championships where he was down to compete in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4x100 metres.