Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA's star martial artist, Kenneth Edwards, has confirmed reports of testing positive for the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide.
Edwards, an international star who caught the public's attention at the London 2012 Olympics with a creditable first-round performance in tae kwon do, yesterday told The Gleaner he had no reason to be taking a banned substance as he was out of competition when tested.
"I competed early July, at the Gold Cup in Orlando, the US Open, and a week after that, the WTF World Champs in Mexico," said Edwards.
"I was tested August 15. I was totally out of competition, and intend to challenge this thing because, for one, I had no reason to take any kind of banned substance or masking agent.
"For me, this is taking me from left field, because I have no clue as to where this could be coming from," he added.
Hydrochlorothiazide, according to medicinenet.com, is a diuretic (water pill) used for treating high blood pressure (hypertension) and accumulation of fluid (edema). It works by blocking salt and fluid reabsorption from the urine in the kidneys, causing increased urine output (diuresis).
Edwards told The Gleaner the only medication he took were for an injury he had picked up while doing a breaking demonstration, a week before he was tested.
"My next step is to challenge the findings, because this is totally a surprise to me. I had an injury doing a demonstration in August, a week before I was tested. I injured my hand. I went to the doctor to check if it was broken because it had tremendous swelling that wouldn't go down.
"I filled the prescription on September 15. I was tested the morning of the 15th. I didn't take anything other than those meds, which were simple antibiotics and anti-inflammatory," he said, adding that he had declared the medication prior to being tested.
Edwards said he was puzzled by the positive test and intends to clear his name.
"I was informed on September 18, after which I told them to test the B Sample, because I was pretty sure it must have been a mistake on their part.
"I received information a week ago, saying the B sample would have been tested October 3, but I haven't received confirmation from JADCO as yet," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Jason McKay, captain of Jamaica's combined martial arts team, said Edwards' honesty and integrity was unquestionable.
"From what we understand, a diuretic has appeared in his sample, which we are sure must be a mistake of some sort because, apart from his unquestionable honesty and integrity, there is no practical reason for him to be taking a diuretic, or any masking agent, when not competing," said McKay, adding that the fighter enjoys the full support of the combined martial arts team.
Calls to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's chairman, Dr Herb Elliott, went unanswered.
Hydrochlorothiazide is believed to be the same diuretic for which Veronica Campbell-Brown was recently handed a public warning by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association of Jamaica.
This is to officially indicate that I was notified of a positive test for a banned substance on September 18, 2013. I have since asked that the B sample be tested, and I am awaiting that result.
I have not competed since July 16 and was in preparation for international competition in October. It means that there is no practical reason to use a diuretic for any kind of preparation.
I remain committed to being a professional athlete and would not do anything to compromise that position. I have every intention of challenging these findings.
I await the process.
Martial arts community supports Olympian