Govt. Committed to Ensuring that Athletes Remain Clean


The Government is constantly seeking to ensure that Jamaica’s athletes remain free of prohibited substances.
To this end, the administration has passed the Anti-doping legislation and established the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO), demonstrating the high level of importance it attaches to dealing with this matter.
This was noted by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, in an address read by Senior Director for Youth, Sports and Community Development in the Ministry, Florette Blackwood, at a media launch for a one-day ‘Anti-Doping in Sport’ seminar, to be held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, on Saturday, September 18.
The launch was held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, on August 31.
Miss Grange emphasised that it is vital that the nation’s athletes strive to ensure that they do not take banned substances.
She said the country has constantly implored its sportsmen and women to stay away from the use of drugs, pointing out that Jamaica’s record is among the cleanest in the world.
“Our athletes have not only done us proud in their sport of choice, but they have held themselves above indulgence in drugs to enhance their performance. Our sportsmen and women believe in fair play and practise fair play,” she declared.
Research Fellow, Basic Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Rachael Irving, cautioned athletes that ignorance is not an excuse for taking banned substances.
“(We are being watched) and we have to be very careful. In the past 12 months, eight of our elite sprinters have tested positive for banned substances. We can’t afford this,” she stressed.
She noted that although the athletes may have tested positive for the substances due to a lack of knowledge, in the sporting arena, regardless of the reason, innocent ingestion of prohibited substances is not tolerated.
“It is not an acceptable excuse and those taking these substances, whether innocently or knowingly, are liable to be sanctioned,” she warned.
The Research Fellow informed that Jamaica was among the top five countries, including Russia, Belarus, United States and China, most tested for doping in the 2008 Olympic season.
“This might be target testing. However, we must bear in mind that although Jamaica’s sprinting prowess is legendary, there are some who still continue to wonder why we are doing so well,” she cautioned.
This scepticism, she noted, has been due, in part, to the fact that in the 112-year history of the Olympics, a Jamaican is the only athlete to have set three world records in track and field at a single Game, in reference to sprint champion, Usain Bolt.
“As we speak, there are six Jamaican men running under 9.9 seconds for the 100-metre sprint. We have three of the four fastest men in the world,” she further pointed out.
While praising the Government for its efforts in addressing the matter of doping in sports, she noted that the university also feels it has a contribution to make in dealing with the issue.
She said that the UWI has “stepped forward” to play a part in educating persons about new anti-doping trends, which is in keeping with the move by universities overseas to help anti-doping organisations in their countries.
Dr. Irving said that due to the fast pace of new developments concerning doping in sports, the country’s sportspersons need to be alert and arm themselves with the necessary information to ensure that they remain free of banned substances.
She raised concerns as to how many persons are aware of modifications to the 2010 banned substances list and other new regulations.
“How many persons know about the new longitudinal testing, that you can be negative on all analytical tests, but still be sanctioned because of an unstable blood profile? Are we aware that pseudoephedrine, found in most common cold and flu (medication) is now banned in competition and there are slow release forms, if taken out of competition, but not declared before competition, can cause sanctioning?” she questioned.
To be hosted by the UWI, in collaboration with the Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, the seminar has the objectives of sensitising key players in sports about the doping rules and new regulations, with particular emphasis on the new longitudinal testing; and presenting an overview on the arbitration process, and to do analyses of sanction cases.
Other objectives are to examine the nutritional requirements for peak performance; to provide an overview of the supplement industry, its lack of regulation and therefore the danger of contamination with banned substances not declared on labels.
The event is being sponsored by the Spanish Court Hotel, Television Jamaica, National Commercial Bank, Guardsman Group Limited, Supreme Ventures, and The Gleaner.

JIS Social