Jamaica eyes appeal

Case could go to Court of Arbitration after Carter’s positive test causes loss of 4x100m gold medals

BY HOWARD WALKER Senior staff reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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JAMAICA’S legendary sprinter Usain Bolt has lost his 2008 Olympic 4x100m relay gold after Nesta Carter’s Beijing urine and blood samples were retested and found positive for the prohibited substance methylhexaneamine.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) was informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday that Carter was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation eight years ago.

An appeal by Carter and his management team is expected following a long meeting held at the offices of the JOA yesterday.

Carter, his MVP club President Bruce James, JOA President Mike Fennell, his Secretary General Christopher Samuda, along with Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), were all said to be at the hastily convened meeting.

"The person in consideration is Carter, but the other relay persons could join the appeal. I can’t speak for them," Fennell told the Jamaica Observer.

"I am being very careful in terms of what I say before we have a clear understanding of the direction we’re moving in. I think we need to respect the fact of the principal person and respect his position in the matter," Fennell added.

Just like several Jamaicans, Fennell was disappointed but had an idea it was coming.

"We are obviously very disappointed but not surprised, because I know the hearing followed a certain pattern," he noted.

"So, it’s a matter that we will have to look at the legal issues now, and we need to ensure that we are quite clear about the legal advice that he (Carter) gets and how it projects itself to us on our own position. That’s why one has to be very careful," said Fennell.

"I won’t comment beyond saying that we are deciding on the appeal to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) at this time," James told the Observer after receiving the news.

Carter, the sixth-fastest 100m runner of all time with a clocking of 9.78 seconds, ran the opening leg of the Olympic 4x100m final in Beijing as Jamaica stormed to victory in a then world record 37.10 seconds.

Carter has been a crucial member of the all-conquering Jamaican 4x100m team, also claiming gold medals alongside Bolt at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships and London 2012 Olympics.

He missed the Rio Olympic Games last year. His was one of 454 selected samples retested by the IOC in 2016.

The decision to strip Jamaica of the 4x100m title deprives Bolt of one of his nine gold medals won across three Games between 2008 and 2016.

Trinidad and Tobago are now in line for promotion to the gold medal position, with Japan taking silver and Brazil bronze.

Bolt’s three consecutive triple gold medals had propelled him into athletics immortality and Jamaica to the forefront of the sport.

Carter has been given 21 days to file an appeal to the CAS and he could have the full support of the members of the relay team — Bolt, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater — Fennell believes. Olympian Dwight Thomas ran as a member of the team in the semi-final round.

Yesterday, Dr Blake told the Observer that, "From our understanding, the athlete is weighing his options with his legal team as to whether or not to appeal the decision, and we await the outcome of that."

Glen Mills, Bolt’s coach, was also lost for words and decided not to comment on the issue of Bolt losing one of his medals. "There is nothing to say," was Mills’ terse response.

Efforts to get comments from other team members proved futile as Powell’s publicist Tara Playfair said he would not make any comments at this time, as did Frater.

Bolt’s medal tally now stands at eight and, worryingly, the IAAF says it will retest samples held in storage from other events for Carter following yesterday morning’s announcement from the IOC.

Responding to yesterday’s news, the IAAF said: "Once the IOC’s case and any appeal is concluded for the disqualification of Nesta Carter from the men’s 4x100m event at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 for an anti-doping rule violation, the IAAF will take it to the Jamaican federation to determine Carter’s sanction beyond this disqualification."

Bolt, who previously described the prospect of losing one of his gold medals as "heartbreaking", had announced that the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil was his last.

Bolt, 30, completed an unprecedented ‘triple triple’ in Rio last summer. He won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay to add to his successes in the same events in 2008 and 2012.

Bolt, along with Powell, Frater, Thomas, and Carter have been ordered to return their medals, medallist pins and diplomas to the JOA, which will in turn send them to the IOC.

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