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Neita-Headley rebuts Shirley on doping control issue

Published:Thursday | August 22, 2013 | 3:14 PM

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

The minister without portfolio with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, has rejected comments made by former executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo), Renée Anne Shirley that the Jamaican government has not been doing enough to ensure doping control.

Writing is this week’s Sports Illustrated, Shirley chided the Jamaican government for what she deemed its failure to seriously deal with doping control despite several recommendations and warnings.

But Neita-Headley objects.

"We have prepared an extensive release to allow for all of Jamaica and the world to be made aware of what it is that we have been doing, what improvements have been made, where we believe additional improvements need to be made and the way forward," Neita-Headley told The Gleaner.

"We remain committed to ensuring that all is in place and that we reach the ideal of ensuring that we are always compliant with what world standards are."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has warned that Jamaica risks expulsion from the 2016 Olympics and other major competitions if it fails to address failings highlighted by Shirley.

When asked if WADA has been in contact with the government about the issue, Neita-Headley’s responded “absolutely not”.

However, Neita-Headley declined to comment directly on whether she deems it unfortunate that Shirley has made the damming revelations.

"A lot of things are unfortunate, but we have very little control over people and their personalities," Neita-Headley said.

"I think what is important is that the program can stand up to scrutiny. That is what is going to be important and if we do have shortfalls that we seek to address them. The sports program is more important than any person or personality."


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