André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
One day after The Gleaner first reported that Jamaica's sprint queen Veronica Campbell-Brown had tested positive for a banned substance, the country's track and field authority has finally confirmed the findings.
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake yesterday told The Sunday Gleaner that his administration has now been notified of the adverse analytical finding from the A sample of a Jamaican athlete, but he declined to add any further information.
According to Blake, he is still bound by the result management protocol surrounding positive drug tests.
"All we can confirm is that there does exist an adverse analytical finding, and under the rules governing the results management procedure, I cannot name the athlete at this time," said Blake.
However, he expressed concern that if confirmed, this latest doping development will certainly bear negative implications for the island's reputation in the international track and field landscape.
AWAITING 'B' SAMPLE RESULT
According to Blake, the JAAA has not received notification of the results of the athlete's B sample and, as a result, would not confirm the athlete's identity.
"If it is confirmed and we do have a positive B sample in our possession, people will say, 'There goes another Jamaican (drug cheat)', and it would definitely have a negative impact, but until we have the results of the B sample in our possession, I do not want to speculate much further at this time."
Eight Jamaican athletes have tested positive for banned substances over the past five years.
Just last Thursday, quarter-miler Dominique Blake received a six-year ban after test conducted at last year's Olympic Trials showed traces of
Gleaner sources on Friday confirmed that Campbell-Brown had tested positive for the diuretic furosemide at the May 4 Jamaica Invitational and was notified of the finding on June 3.
The information further revealed that the seven-time Olympic medallist had travelled to an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) lab in Montreal, Canada, ahead of the testing of her B sample, which confirmed the positive finding on Friday.
Diuretics are used to induce the removal of excess fluids from the body, mainly through urine and is viewed as a masking agent by the World Anti-Doping Agency as it can hide the presence of performance-enhancement drugs.
It is reported that the substance was administered through the pill Lasix, which is also known as a furosemide. This is also commonly used to treat congestive heart failure and also helps to control the absorption of high levels of salt.
However, when contacted yesterday, JAAA President Blake insisted that the association is still awaiting the results of the B sample, and while he expects some fallout from a possible confirmation, he believes that the test also shows that the country's testing procedures are efficient.
"We have not been informed of any positive B sample result, but this does show, contrary to what people are saying, that we do have a robust testing programme here in Jamaica," argued Blake.
43 MEDALS FOR JAMAICA
Campbell-Brown has won 43 medals for Jamaica at the youth, junior and senior international levels, and also serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality in Sports, a role she was appointed to in 2009.
Though expected to miss this summer's IAAF World Championships in Athletics set for Moscow, Campbell-Brown is the reigning 200m World champion and is one of two women to have successfully defended Olympic 200m titles, after her wins in 2004 in Athens and four years later in Beijing.
In an initial reaction to news that Veronica Campbell-Brown has tested positive for a banned substance, minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, noted that the International Association of Athletics Federations is continuing to conduct its results management procedures in accordance with its rules.
"We await the outcome of the due process," said Neita-Headley as she avoided any reference to Campbell-Brown.
"We continue to be proud of our rich sporting history and tradition, and of all of our athletes who give of their best in representing Jamaica in the various sporting disciplines locally and internationally.
"We encourage our athletes to remain focused and disciplined during this time of the staging of our national Junior and Senior Championships," added Neita-Headley.
She said, as a country, Jamaica is committed to its anti-doping programme and the preservation of integrity in sport.
Neita-Headley noted that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission has a robust in and out of competition testing programme as well as a strong public information network.