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Jamaica athletics untroubled by WADA ban threats

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 16:00 | Comments

Sherone Simpson tested positive earlier this year
Sherone Simpson tested positive earlier this year

Jamaican athletics chiefs have brushed off the threat of the nation's stars being excluded from the Olympics.

The possibility has arisen after Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey hinted Jamaica could be declared non-compliant because of delays in arranging an audit of drug-testing procedures in the country.

Such a move would lead to the country's star athletes being banned from major international tournaments such as the Olympics irrespective of whether they themselves have done anything wrong.

But Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, told The Times: "I don't think it's a possibility at all.

"What would London have been without Jamaica? What would 2012 have been without our athletes? It's not going to happen."

The Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) is under scrutiny following claims from its former head, Renee Anne Shirley, who revealed in August that only one out-of-competition test had been carried out in the five months leading up to last year's Olympics.

That led WADA to seek an audit of the organisation, but JADCO has said it cannot accommodate such a process until next year.

WADA president Fahey told the Daily Telegraph: "The current position is unacceptable to WADA and we're not going to take it lying down, their suggestion that they'll talk to us next year.

"To suggest to WADA they're not ready to meet with us to talk about their problem until sometime next year is unsatisfactory, it's totally unacceptable to me and we shall act appropriately within an appropriate time frame."

Jamaica came under the spotlight after a clutch of athletes including Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson returned positive tests earlier this year.

Shirley, who began her job as executive director of JADCO last July, left her post in February after becoming frustrated at the lack of progress made.

Leading Jamaican athletes such as Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake face regular tests as part of the IAAF's international testing pool.

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