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Jamaican authorities blamed for not finding drug cheats

SPOTLIGHT: Jamaican sprinters enjoyed unparalleled success at the London Olympics (PA)

NATIONAL ANTI-DOPING officials in Jamaica are failing in their duty to catch drug cheats, according to a former director of the country’s testing body.

Renee Anne Shirley, who resigned from her position at the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (Jadco), claimed the organisation carried out only a single out-of-competition doping test in five months before the London 2012 Games.

“When I took over, in mid-July, Jadco did not have a large enough staff in place to carry out rigorous anti-doping programmes”, she writes in Sports Illustrated.

“The Doping Control/Technical Services and the Education/Communications Units had only one junior staff member each, and the director positions were vacant.”

Her views come after a string of Jamaican sprinters have been tested positive for banned substances, including 100m performer Asafa Powell and athlete Sherone Simpson.

Shirley added: “The current programme while improved makes a mockery of Jamaica’s posturing and flames suspicion more than it douses it.

“Between the time the current board was appointed, in February 2012, and the start of the London Olympics late last July, out-of-date testing kits and limited staffing resources resulted in a total of one out-of-competition test.”

Commenting further about the positive test results of Powell and other high-profile track stars, the ex-Jadco director said: “And just like a hurricane, this disaster is one that I hoped would not visit Jamaica, even as I feared that it would.”

Shirley also claimed that her resignation in February stemmed from not being taken seriously about testing athletes.

“I could not get any member of the Jadco board or member of Jamaica’s Cabinet to take it seriously. They believe that Jamaica does not have a problem”, she added.

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