JADCO did 106 tests in 2012 - Dr Elliott says agency did enough given population size
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) chairman, Dr Herb Elliott, in defending his organisation's doping control efforts after a World Anti-Doping Agency report, revealed that 106 drug tests were conducted by the Jamaican authority in 2012.
Comparatively, Iranian drug-testing officials last year carried out 75 more tests than their Jamaican counterparts, while nine more drug tests were conducted on Icelandic athletes.
The Russian National Anti-Doping Organisation (15,854), US Anti-Doping Agency (4,051), China (10,066), Germany (8,077), Italy (6,794) and the United Kingdom (5,971) are at the top end of the drug-testing scale.
However, Elliott, who noted that the vast majority of Jamaica's drug tests over the period were conducted on track and field athletes, believes that JADCO, despite its financial limitations, has done a good job.
This he says, regardless of the disparity between nations with a similar-size sporting pool.
Since its inception in 2009, JADCO has overseen 860 tests.
"We have done enough tests ... when you compare by population," Elliott told The Gleaner during a telephone interview yesterday. "Mostly what we did was track and field athletes, while some of these other countries have a lot more athletes from a lot more sports to test.
"There are very few countries that have done what we have done, and even though it would have been good to have been able to do a bit more last year, we have already done more this year. We carried out 70 drugs tests at the trials alone," said Elliott.
"The prime minister and the minister of sport gave me permission to do as many tests as I thought necessary, but you should remember, too, that the present JADCO board came into power in March of 2012, so we didn't do all of the things that we wanted to do, but it was adequate," Elliott added.
"When we came in there was no money - the prime minister had to get money for us - and so I think what we did was quite adequate. The international agencies have not made any complaints, they have come in and looked at our situation and they are satisfied," Elliott continued.
The report also broke down the return rate in several Olympic sports for results submitted by the respective associations, with cycling showing a one per cent rate of adverse analytical findings.
Track and field's return rate was 0.7 per cent, while Aquatics was 0.9 per cent.
Where the more scientifically advanced carbon-isotype drug-testing method was used, track and field's numbers climbed to 5.75 per cent, this after the IAAF authorised 97 such tests last year, with 35 being conducted out-of-competition, with no positives returned; and 62 done at meets, with nine coming back with adverse analytical findings.
Incidentally, the minster without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, yesterday released a statement affirming the Government's commitment to doping control.
This also follows a report in which former BALCO boss Victor Conte, who served prison time in 2005 for his involvement in one of the biggest doping scandals in history, questioned the island's commitment to anti-doping, accusing the Government and leading officials of facilitating doping in sport.