Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
National discus record holder Traves Smikle will face a Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) Disciplinary Panel on December 12 and 13. Smikle, 21, a student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), who has publicly declared his innocence, was among five Jamaicans who returned adverse analytical findings (AAF) during the National Athletics Championships held in June.
News broke on July 14 that five Jamaican athletes had failed drug tests at the national championships in June, setting off one of the biggest drug scandals ever faced by Jamaican athletes and authorities. In addition to Smikle, global stars, former 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic 100-metre silver medalist Sherone Simpson, as well as Allison Randall and 19-year-old Damar Robinson also failed drug tests. The news broke one month after it was announced that Veronica Campbell Brown, another global star and two-time Olympic 200-metre champion, had failed a drug test after competing at the Jamaica International Invitational in May. Her case was heard in camera earlier this month and now awaits the announcement of a verdict.
At yesterday's preliminary hearing held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Duke Street in downtown Kingston, dates were also set for discus thrower Randall, who has also declared her innocence, and Calabar High School high jumper, Robinson. Randall, 25, will face a disciplinary panel on December 5 and 6 while Robinson's case will be heard on December 12 and 13. All three athletes will be represented by attorneys William Payton, Dr. Lloyd Barnett and Courtney Williams.
Lackston Robinson will represent JADCo during the hearings.
Pantry to head panels
Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Kent Pantry, will head all three disciplinary panels. However, in Smikle's case, the other panellists will be retired athlete Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, Dr Irvin Crandon and Jeremy Taylor. Randall, who was unable to attend yesterday's hearing because of school, will have her case heard by Cuthbert Flynn, Jeremy Taylor and Dr Archibald Gordon, while Robinson's case will be heard by Peter Prendergast, Dr. McDonald and Jeremy Taylor.
Smikle and Robinson sat meekly behind their attorneys as the hearings, dates for discovery and exchange of documents, as well as the presentation of case files were set. At the end of the proceedings, they left quietly without speaking to the media.
The preliminary hearing to set dates for Powell and Simpson, who both returned adverse findings for the stimulant Oxylifrine, will be set next Friday, September 27, at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The case involving the two MVP athletes took on an international flavour when news broke of the positive tests. Italian police raided the hotel room of their trainer Chris Xuereb seizing bottles of supplements to be tested to determine if they were the source of contamination for the athletes' samples.