Wed | Apr 1, 2015

'PAINFUL' - Mills hurt by negative effect of doping on Jamaica

Published:Sunday | October 20, 2013
Glen Mills

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Glen Mills is not bothered by much. But the celebrated Jamaican track coach admitted that it upsets him when people accuse the island's athletes such as his own charge, Usain Bolt, of cheating and question the legitimacy of their performances.

Jamaica's drug testing programme has been under the microscope, particularly since former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) executive director, Renee Anne Shirley, revealed that the local agency did not conduct a single drug test on Jamaica's athletes in the five months leading into the London Olympics.

She later claimed that JADCO has never done a blood test and questioned its ability to properly prepare for cases against athletes who violate the anti-doping laws.

However, Mills, who recently accused the international community of unfairly targeting Jamaica, told The Sunday Gleaner that he is deeply troubled by generalised suggestions that Jamaicans are competing without being tested or that they are cheats.

"It is not fair to create the impression that because JADCO was not testing them (Jamaican athletes) that they were not being tested and certainly in the case of Usain (Bolt), everywhere he travels, they test him and I am talking even out of competition," said Mills.

Bolt, the world record holder, Olympic and world champion over 100m and 200m, was tested 12 times last year by international testers.

Additionally, the sport's governing body, the IAAF, recently revealed that Jamaica is among the most tested nations, with 126 tests carried out on Jamaican athletes in 2012.

"It upsets me more so about the effect it (negative impressions) has on Jamaica because I am a Jamaican and I am proud to be a Jamaican. I am a proud Jamaican coach, I am proud that I can prepare people to go on the biggest stage and represent their country and themselves honestly and in distinction and to see people attempt to smear that, it really does have a painful effect on me," said Mill, the president and head coach at the University of West Indies-based Racers Track Club, which also features the likes of Yohan Blake and Warren
Weir.

"When I listen to and read the words of a
convicted felon who masterminded such a system and the media - even
here, is giving exposure and credibility to such rubbish, I wonder what
is the objective," Mills added, in reference to former BALCO Labs head,
Victor Conte, who has been very critical of Jamaica's drug-testing
programme.

"They could not develop people's talent's
naturally and had to resort to dishonest means, but seeing it being done
obviously creates a lot of jealousy and guilt that they are using to
try and smear Jamaica's name," Mills further
added.

"The majority of the test that have
unfortunately returned adverse findings, the sample taking has been done
here in Jamaica by JADCO and it's unfortunate to have any adverse
finding. But the truth of the matter is that they have been taken here
in Jamaica and the integrity of the process can stand the acid
test.

"JADCO's inadequacy, which was the subject of an
interview from the former director, to me was most regrettable because
if there is a problem of that magnitude, one would have hoped that the
first approach would be a local campaign to inform the stakeholders and
so on of the current difficulties," Mills added, turning his attention
to Shirley.

"What is factual is that JADCO, despite
its need for greater resources, has been making a significant effort to
do a good job. They certainly need more resources, but the truth of the
matter is that they have been making an effort to do a good
job.

"I can't say that for many countries at our level
or above our level because there have been so many evidence of
cover-ups by their agencies, it's a disgrace and as far as I know,
JADCO, from its inception, can never be accused of any such action."