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Agencies winning drug fight - Blake

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica Athletics Admin-istrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake has hailed the work carried out by international doping monitors, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and local partners, the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), in the fight against drug cheats.

Blake, who took charge of the JAAA late last year following the death of Howard Aris, is not worried that performances at the upcoming Olympic Games in London will be compromised due to the influence of performance-enhancing substances.

He is also of the view that it is the successful fight against drug usage in the sport that has assisted in Jamaica's rise.

"I think the fact that the playing field is more level now than it has ever been has certainly played a part in our success in recent times," said Blake.

"I am not worried about that. I think WADA has done a very good job at levelling the playing field for all nations and I think that the playing field that we are now on is far more level than it has ever been before and drug cheats are on the back foot," said Blake, who was a guest at a special Gleaner Editors' Forum, which was used to mark the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Games.

Still a problem

However, Blake, an orthopaedic specialist who has long been a part of the JAAA's executive committee and who has travelled with many Jamaican teams to international competitions, admitted that there is still a problem of drug use in the sport. He was nonetheless confident that the authorities are taking the necessary steps to keep up with those who decide to cheat.

"I can't say that it (drug use) has been totally eliminated because people are researching new ways on cheating and on beating the system but in the same manner, WADA is also researching new ways to catch them," Blake said before paying tribute to JADCO's work locally.

"I think JADCO has done a reasonable job at educating our own athletes," said Blake. "They (local athletes) are all warned that before they take anything, any sort of medication, if they are not sure they all have my number or Dr Herb Elliot's number or they can go to someone with knowledge and training in sports medicine who can give them advice on what they can and should not take."

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com