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JAAA ponders legal action for JA athletes implicated in doping allegations

Published:Wednesday | August 5, 2015 | 6:02 PMLeighton Levy
Dr Blake

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) could seek legal recourse against those responsible for leaking confidential dope testing information from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), should the reputation of any Jamaican athlete be sullied by those unauthorised disclosures to the media.

JAAA president Dr Warren Blake also lashed out at the fact that the name of Jamaica's World and Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt appeared in media reports about doping when the athlete has never failed a test for banned drugs or produced a suspicious test result.

"We will look at our options and along with the IAAF to see what redress we can get for our athletes if this happens, because they would be unfairly tainting somebody's name," said Dr Blake on Tuesday at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, where LIME Jamaica and Flow announced a two-year $28-million agreement to be the exclusive media partner of the JAAA.

Suspicious results

Merely weeks before the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, the Sunday Times newspaper in the United Kingdom and German Broadcaster ARD contracted scientists to examine the results of an estimated 12,000 blood samples collected from about 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012. Those scientists concluded that the data, reportedly leaked by someone within the IAAF, suggested that a large number of athletes had produced "suspicious" results.

The IAAF rejected the reports as being erroneous.

"The published allegations were sensationalist and confusing: the results referred to were not positive tests," track and field's governing body noted in a statement issued early Tuesday.

The IAAF also stated that the data on which the reports were based were not "secret", having published a detailed analysis of these data more than four years ago.

"Ethically, I deplore public comments coming from colleagues on blood data that has been obtained and processed outside of the strict regulatory framework established by WADA which is designed to ensure a complete and fair review of ABP profiles," said Professor Giuseppe d'Onofrio, one of the world's leading haematologists, on the IAAF website Tuesday.

"There is no space for shortcuts, simplistic approaches or sensationalism when athletes' careers and reputations are at stake."

Jamaican athletes could be among those whose reputations are at risk. If that is the case, Blake said his association would be prepared to act on their behalf.

"It is interesting to note that when the media that reported the leak spelt it out they never said 'positive' tests or 'failed' tests, they said 'suspicious' test results," Blake said.

"Now, I don't know what those media outlets expected, because you cannot prosecute people based on suspicions. You do not have a case.

"So if you get suspicious results, the only option open to the IAAF is to keep the information confidential and monitor the athletes closely to see if they are, in fact, cheaters or if it was just a suspicious result."

He added: "I find it also ironic that someone went out of their way to look to see if Usain Bolt was there, because if Usain Bolt had a suspicious result, he would have been found guilty and the entire Jamaican programme could have been condemned. I really can't support that sort of behaviour," Blake said.