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Jamaican commission to appeal doping ruling

JAMAICA'S Anti-Doping Commission said yesterday it will appeal a ruling that had cleared five Jamaican athletes of doping at their national championships in June.

The commission released a statement saying it operates independently of a disciplinary panel appointed by the island's sports minister that that found there wasn't enough evidence to prove that five athletes used a banned substance.

"In light of the decision of the disciplinary panel JADCO will enforce its rights ... and appeal the decision," it said in a statement.

No JADCO members could be immediately reached for comment.

The commission said that four athletes had tested positive for a substance that is similar in chemical structure to a stimulant banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It said Jamaica strictly adheres to the agency's rules and to its list of banned substances.

It is unclear why the commission singled out only four athletes.

The runners had previously been identified as Yohan Blake, Sheri-Ann Brooks, Allodin Fothergill, Lansford Spence and Marvin Anderson. They reportedly tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine.

But the commission only mentioned the four male athletes in its statement.

The disciplinary panel cleared Sheri-Ann Brooks last week, but it issued a statement late Monday saying the commission also planned to appeal that ruling.

The panel said it had cleared Brooks because neither she nor a representative were given the opportunity to be present during the testing of her "B'' sample due to a misunderstanding on JADCO's part. It also said the seal was broken on her "B'' sample and that the conditions of the sample prior to that occurrence have been permanently lost.

It is unclear to whom the commission will appeal the ruling.

The chairman of the disciplinary committee earlier told reporters that its nine members were unable to prove that the substance found in the athletes' samples was similar in chemical and biological structure to Tuaminoheptane, a substance banned by the WADA.

"Therefore, we have not found any of the athletes in violation of the (anti-doping) code," Kent Gammon had said.

He could not be reached for comment after the commission said it would appeal the ruling.

Jamaican athletes need to educate themselves about the list of substances banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations, said Olivia Grange, the island's youth, sports and culture minister.

"There is a process, and at the end of that process, we will know the truth, and we will have to deal with either the positive or the negative," she said. "But the fact remains that we do not support dope in sports."

The athletes have not been cleared to compete in the world championships in Berlin from Saturday.

Whatever ruling JADCO eventually issues will be reviewed by the International Association of Athletics Federations - track and field's governing body and organizer of the worlds.

The IAAF can challenge any judgments in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, world sport's highest court of appeal, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IAAF can also provisionally suspend athletes until the CAS delivers a verdict.

The anti-doping panel started its hearing last week. None of the five athletes are considered among Jamaica's top talent, but the positive tests were a blow to a nation that takes great pride in the accomplishments of its sprinters.

Grange said she hoped Jamaica's image would recover, and that the investigation would " not detract from the fact that we are the sprint factory of the world."

Monday's announcement came after Jamaica's Amateur Athletic Association warned another five athletes that they would be barred from the worlds if they did not attend a training camp this week.

Those athletes included 100-meter Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell, a former 100 world-record holder. The others are 400 hurdles Olympic gold medalist Melaine Walker, hurdler Brigitte Foster-Hylton and sprinter Shericka Williams.


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