The JADCO said it would issue a statement in its defence following its meeting, scheduled for 8 o’clock this morning.
There have been instances of criticism highlighted by international media since Jamaica’s athletes started their successful efforts on the track at the Olympic Games in London, England, just over a week ago.
When asked whether he was happy with the way Jamaica’s athletes are tested for drugs, IOC member Dick Pound told Reuters Television on Saturday that it was difficult to test Jamaican athletes.
“No. They are one of the groups that are hard to test. It is (hard) to get in and find them, and so forth,” said Pound, who is also a former chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
When contacted yesterday, acting chairman of JADCO, Professor Winston Davidson, said the committee had been taking note of the comments and would be responding accordingly.
“There is a recent comment where some persons are trying to discredit us, and so we have called a meeting for tomorrow. I don’t want to comment until the committee meets tomorrow,” Davidson said.
Yesterday, however, Dr Patrece Charles Freeman, former JADCO executive director, was forthright in her defence of the local anti-doping committee. She noted that under her reign, which ended last year, several anti-doping agencies, including World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), lauded the drug policies which exist in Jamaica to catch drug cheats in the various sports programmes.
“Bear in mind that we were evaluated by the World Anti-Doping Agency while I was executive director there, and we got great scores. They found no problem with our policies. As far as anti-doping is concerned, Jamaica is very far ahead. We have our Anti-Doping Sports Act, and we have an active commission,” she said, while pointing out that she was unable to speak definitively to what exists now.
Charles Freeman also said that when the policies were being crafted, both the WADA and the Canadian Anti-Doping Agency were invited to Jamaica to examine the document and make suggestions.
“With that said and done, we’ve had some of our educational programmes and policies that we put together used by WADA as best guidelines and practices, so if they can come down and see how we trained our doping-control officers and approved that, then there wasn’t any problem,” she said.
No problem locating athletes
In responding to the statement by Pound that Jamaican athletes are hard to find, Charles Freeman said during her tenure, she had no problem in locating athletes.
“When I was there, we tested athletes every month, and the ones that were most tested came from track and field. We did not have any difficulties testing athletes because they provided their daily location for us. We never had any problems,” she said.
“If it is a case where you go looking for an athlete and they indicated that they would be in a certain location at a certain time and you go to that location during that time and the athlete is not there, it is considered a missed test, and it is documented.”
She told The Gleaner that during her time at the JADCO, there were two missed tests that were “easily explained”.
In speaking to the issue of competition testing, she said over the years, more emphasis has been placed on testing athletes out of competition due to the greater likelihood of catching drug cheats.
“In order to legitimise the competition, yes, we do in-competition testing, but what’s more important is what the athletes do in training. In-competition testing is expected by athletes and everyone,” she said.
“We have a very solid anti-doping sports act and policy that takes care of what is supposed to be done as far as doping control is concerned in Jamaica.”
In lauding the achievements of the athletes in London, she said Jamaican athletes are simply naturally gifted and it is time the rest of the world woke up to that reality.
“Sooner or later they will have to accept that our athletes are performing because of natural talent,” Charles Freeman said.