André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Blake, Cunningham to know fate soon after ingesting banned substances
Jamaican quarter-miler Dominique Blake and 800m national champion Ricardo Cunningham may know their fate on October 17, after both tested positive for banned substances at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships earlier this year.
Blake, who did not actually participate despite travelling to the London Olympic Games as a member of Jamaica's 4x400m squad, was not present at yesterday's hearing of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo) Disciplinary Committee inside the Jamaica Conference Centre, resulting in a second and possibly decisive hearing being scheduled.
The 25-year-old United States-based Blake tested positive for the stimulant dimethylpentylamine, which is also called methylhexanamine. Though commonly used as a nasal decongestant, the substance also has properties that can enhance performances, according to medical experts.
This is Blake's second infringement, after traces of ephedrine turned up in her system in 2006, resulting in a nine-month ban.
The athlete, who finished sixth at the Olympic trials, grabbed headlines during the London Olympic Games after accusing the Jamaican coaching staff of favouritism following her exclusion from the team that ran the 4x400m heat.
'Sorry to disappoint'
"Sorry to disappoint any1 who is watching to see me race tonight," she posted on popular social network Twitter during the Olympic Games.
"Due to BS bias, favouritism and politics I will not be running 2night. I and many others are very disappointed and disagree with the decision the relay coach has made. But I do wish the ladies the best of luck and pray they get the job done to have us in the finals."
Cunningham, who works out with the MVP Track Club, was found with marginally higher than normal levels of pseudoephedrine - which despite being on WADA's list of banned substances, is not listed as a performance-enhancement substance and is a common element in popular cold and cough medicines.
Despite winning at the trials, Cunningham did not make the Olympic team after failing to meet the Games' qualifying standard.
Chairman of JADCo, Dr Herb Elliott, confirmed the findings and pointed out that a decision by the Disciplinary Committee may be just around the corner.
"Two athletes were tested when we had our trials here and they came up positive. One made the team (Olympic) and one didn't make the team," Elliott said.
"The substances, in the case of Cunningham, it (substance) is on the banned list of drugs, but also in many cough medicines. So, of course, if you take it and you are tested, the results will bring up an adverse findings," Elliott told The Gleaner.
"The young lady was not able to be here for the hearing today (yesterday), but she is expected to be present on the 17th, at which time the Disciplinary Panel may need to deliberate further or may come to their decision at that point," Elliott added.
JADCo's Disciplinary Panel comprises Dr Japheth Ford, Lennox Gayle, Juliet Cuthbert and Chairman Kent Pantry.