Sat | Jun 25, 2022

‘JADCO board must go’

Shirley: Apologies can’t reverse the situation or the far-reaching implications, and serious action, which should include the resignation of all current board members, must be taken.

Published:Friday | June 3, 2022 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Under-20 female team which broke the World 4x100 metres record at the Carifta Games in April. From left: Serena Cole, Brianna Lyston, Tina and Tia Clayton.
Under-20 female team which broke the World 4x100 metres record at the Carifta Games in April. From left: Serena Cole, Brianna Lyston, Tina and Tia Clayton.
Dr Paul Wright
Dr Paul Wright
Renee-Ann Shirley
Renee-Ann Shirley
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Former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) executive director, Renee-Ann Shirley, says that the current executive led by Chairman Alexander Williams must resign following the testing failure leading to the non-ratification of Jamaica’s 4x100...

Former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) executive director, Renee-Ann Shirley, says that the current executive led by Chairman Alexander Williams must resign following the testing failure leading to the non-ratification of Jamaica’s 4x100 metres Under-20 girls world record.

World Athletics, track and field’s governing body, did not ratify Jamaica’s 42.58 seconds clocking at the Carifta Games in April as World Under-20 100m champion Tina Clayton, who was on the team that included Serena Cole, Tia Clayton and Brianna Lyston, was not tested after the race.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Williams said that JADCO bears full responsibility for not fulfilling the guidelines and protocols of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) with assurances that it would not happen again.

But Shirley says apologies can’t reverse the situation or the far-reaching implications, and serious action, which should include the resignation of all current board members, must be taken.

“They got written and oral instructions but everybody knows that you must be tested right after you run a world record. If you run two for the day, you have to be tested twice. Somebody took a unilateral decision and didn’t say anything to anybody. It cannot be left like that,” Shirley told The Gleaner. “The entire group has to go. The board cannot say that they didn’t know anything. It is under their watch.”

In a statement, JADCO attempted to explain the rationale behind not testing the athlete in question. They said that the testing was done on April 16, the day before the race, and because of JADCO’s Best Practice in-competition (standards) the athlete would not be tested the following day in-competition.

However, Shirley says that it not only violated a World Athletics requirement but they have now put themselves in an untenable situation.

“You were contracted to do a job. You cannot set up your own rules and say that well, our best practices say that we are not going to follow what World Athletics requires. Even if somebody went rogue, they empowered that rogue person to do something that is now an embarrassment to Jamaica,” Shirley said.

Sports medicine specialist Dr Paul Wright says that JADCO’s explanation showed a lack of knowledge of the process and the purpose of drug testing.

“You cannot put out a statement saying that your best practice is not to test an athlete two days in a row. That is nonsense and that means that you don’t understand anti-doping or drug testing,” Wright said. “The whole purpose of drug testing is to have a level playing field. If somebody does an extraordinary time, that person has to be drug tested. Records have to be drug tested.”

Oliver Watt, director of public relations and corporate communications at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, told The Gleaner yesterday that Sports Minister Olivia Grange is awaiting a report from Williams on the matter and would, after hearing from him, address the matter during her sectoral debate presentation in parliament next Tuesday.

The previous Under-20 world record of 42.94 still belongs to Jamaica, set by the team of Cole, Tina, Tia and Kerrica Hill, which was set last year at the World Under-20 championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com