A release issued Sunday morning, 29th July, 2012, by the President of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Olympic Committee, SKNOC, provides no new information and leaves too many unanswered questions.
President of the SKNOC, Alphonso Bridgewater, revealed that “The St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC) has withdrawn sprint athlete, Tameka Williams, from its 2012 Olympic Team, effective, Saturday 28th July. She has left the Olympic Village for St. Kitts and Nevis.
He continued, “In discussion with team management, Ms. Williams volunteered information to the effect that she has been using a substance which the SKNOC considers to fall outside the internationally accepted Medical Code.”
Bridgewater stated that all the necessary bodies have been duly notified and that this matter will be concluded pending further investigations.
No information, however, has been provided about what substance was used by the athlete. Williams on the other hand in a Facebook quote attributed to her, indicated that it was since June this year that she was tested. If this is so, and if it was felt by the SKNOC that the substance fell outside the internationally accepted Medical Code, why was Williams selected to the team? Why was she allowed to travel to London and participate in the Opening Ceremony, only to be sent home the very next day?
Additionally, the NOC’s statement implies that the decision to dismiss Williams from the team and further participation in the Olympics was that of the team management and not the International Olympic Committee, IOC.
Though the statement said Williams volunteered information, it did not clarify if this was to the SKNOC or the IOC. And if the information was volunteered, which suggests she was not forced to provide the details, why did Williams wait until that moment in London to do so. And what were the circumstances that caused Williams to “volunteer” the information? But more importantly, what was that information?
Another important question that must be asked is why was it necessary to send Williams packing, when she said in her Facebook statement that her testing in June turned out negative?
“Although results from a drug test in early June came back clean, I was sent home due to false accusations. It’s sad to see a 22-year-old dreams washed away by people who don’t believe in me. W/ no chance of a second drug test to prove my innocence I was dismissed. SKN I am not sorry for working hard all year and I have never taken illegal substances to enhance my performance or any thereof,” said Williams.
It would be interested to know what accusations were levelled at Williams and specifically by whom?
But Williams’ (former) colleague on the team, Antoine Adams has defended his fellow sprinter. He said in a statement after news broke that Williams was on her way home that it does not make any sense hiding the reason being advanced for sending home Tameka Williams because she did not do anything wrong.
This is what Adams had to say, “She admitted taking a substance that the association researched and suspected that it may enhance her performance. She admitted to taking it before (St. Kitts and Nevis’) Nationals and within the last six months. However she was tested before Nationals and her tests came back clean. She was then again tested after Nationals in Russia when she won the World Challenge 100m and her tests were clean. Tameka or nobody from Elite Performance is taking drugs to enhance performance. The supplement she took is not a banned substance, but because the SKNOC and SKNAAA suspect the substance to enhance performance, they removed her from the Olympic team, saying they do not want any surprises and they do not want to get embarrassed. Meaning that they suspect she is on something illegal. They did not even give her a chance to get tested in the village. Here is another example of the association doing as they feel and not dealing with things in a proper way. As a friend and as a team-mate I will have Tameka’s back till the end. Anyone else in with me, say ‘upstairs’ we have to give the association a dose of their own medicine.”
This is not good for team spirit and could in the end, cause the squad to lose focus. It also demonstrates that there remains a serious problem between the country’s top athletes and the St. Kitts and Nevis Amateur Athletic Association.
In the meantime, the Olympic dreams of a young athlete have been crushed…at least for now.