JIS News

President of the University of Technology (UTech), Professor the Hon. Errol Morrison, says that the country's athletes and coaches are facing a "scientific injustice" as they are unable to fully understand the  exhaustive list of banned substances published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

He argued that to understand what is referred to as a "banned substance" is "no mean order".

Prof. Morrison, who is a biochemist and was the first chairman of Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, was speaking at the inaugural Students’ Academic and Sport Awards ceremony held recently at the University of Technology's  (UTech) Papine campus.

Prof. Morrison's remarks come just days after it was reported that two Jamaican athletes had tested positive for banned substances. They are 400-meter runner, Dominique Blake, who tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant banned in competition that is commonly used as a nasal decongestant; and national 800-meter champion, Ricardo Cunningham, who tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a common cold medication that is also banned.

According to Professor Morrison, the list of banned substances published by the WADA is "incomprehensible, can't be understood by the average scientist, much more coaches, athletes and support groups, because to understand these substances, their break down in the body of precursor substances that can lead to adverse outcome, requires some extensive biochemical training."

He argued that this creates a "disconnect" for a country like Jamaica, which is constantly under the microscope due to its success in particular areas of sport. "We need to stand up and speak out against what I call a scientific injustice to our sports personalities," he added.

The UTech Head said that he had pointed out the problem to WADA officers, who visited the country about two years ago, but to no avail. “They acknowledged the difficulty, but continued to stick to their guns," he said.

He therefore challenged the institution's Faculty of Science and Sport to develop a course of study that will explain in simple, understandable language the list of banned substances and the effects they may have on the body.

"Do it not only as part of your sports curriculum that you may be doing already, but make it accessible in little modules to the sports persons, to the coaches, and to all interested persons," he suggested. "I predict if we can do that well, the sporting world will beat yet another path to our doors," he said.