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McDonald implicated

Published:Monday | July 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

Olympic gold medallist Beverly McDonald was implicated as a steroid user by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) at an arbitration hearing held for her husband, former Jamaica Olympian, Raymond Stewart.

During the June 2 hearing held in Dallas, Texas, USADA determined that Stewart broke several USADA and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules and was subsequently banned for life.

The agency provided evidence that suggested that McDonald and Stewart paid for and received shipments of anabolic steroids from as early as September 2000.

Stewart attended the hearing without legal counsel, while USADA was represented by William Bock III, general counsel at USADA, and Stephen Starks, legal counsel.

Stewart was charged with violations of WADA sections 2.7 and 2.8.

Section 2.7 identifies a doping violation for trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method, while section 2.8 identifies a doping violation of administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method to any athlete or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up or any other type of complicity involving an antidoping rule violation or attempted violation.

The case against Stewart centred on the testimony of Angel Memo Heredia, whose testimony under oath led to the successful criminal prosecution of Jamaican coach Trevor Graham.

Graham has also been banned for life from coaching in the United States.

Graham once coached Olympic and World 100-metre champion Justin Gatlin, who returns from a four-year drug suspension this month.

Heredia outlined details relating to his relationship with Stewart that lasted a decade.

In his testimony, Heredia revealed some damning information concerning McDonald, who was a member of the Jamaican 4x100 metres relay squad that won a silver medal in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and a gold medal in Athens in 2004.

In addition to the testimony, USADA provided cheques and Western Union money orders from Stewart to Heredia, which Heredia identifies as payment for performance-enhancing drugs for his athletes.

On September 6, 2000, the account of Stewart and McDonald paid US$240 for what Heredia identified as the purchase of injectible Winstrol for use by McDonald.

The arbitrator Judge, James Murphy, heard that in April 2004, Stewart had McDonald blood-tested in Mexico, in preparation for the 2004 Olympic trials.

McDonald finished fourth in the 100 metres at those trials behind Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson and Aleen Bailey, respectively.

Heredia testified that he had provided Stewart EPO, a blood booster, for McDonald, for her use during this period when she was being coached by Stewart.

On April 22, a blood screen was administered on the former Vere Technical athlete. This was designed to establish a base line for McDonald's administration for EPO.

Stewart testified that the blood tests dealt with a sore leg McDonald was suffering at the time.

However, according to USADA, at no time was any medical examination by a physician or medical expert sought for a sore leg.

Stewart denied procuring or using any drugs from Heredia for the athletes he coached. He testified that any drugs he got from Heredia were for his own use, in treatment for a football-related health issues he had suffered.

In his own defence against extensive taped conversations he had with Heredia, Stewart said he just wanted to acquaint himself with drugs and their administration because people often asked him about them and he wanted to provide accurate information about drugs, their administration and their use in training.

McDonald, now 40, has never failed a drug test during her solid track and field career that spanned almost two decades.