BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
CLARK'S TOWN, Trelawny — VERONICA Campbell Brown's father reacted with shock and dismay that his offspring had been fingered in a doping scandal that threatens to gnaw away at the gains of Jamaica's glittering athletic programme.
Cecil Campbell, a resident of this sugar cane-producing community, said that he had not communicated with his daughter in less than a week, but remained confident that things will work out for her.
"I am really surprised. I heard about it this morning (Saturday), but I really don't know what to say right now," stated an apparently disappointed Cecil Campbell.
"It is possible that she could be drinking something and someone poured something in it," added the man of few words, while insisting that he has not spoken to his daughter since last week Wednesday.
At the same time, other members of the Clark's Town community also reacted with horror regarding news of a doping violation on Campbell Brown's part.
Campbell Brown spent her early years growing up in Trelawny, before moving to Clarendon to live with the Myton family and attended Vere Technical High School where she performed as an athlete par excellence.
Sports enthusiast Trevor Davis, who has known Campbell Brown for several years, told the Sunday Observer that "for someone in the sport for so long, I actually don't believe the results are positive.
"This has to be some kind of mistake. I believe something went wrong along the way during the testing. I'm confident she will overcome this though, and I don't think that at this point in her career she would actually do something like this," said Davis, adding that the athlete has his fullest support.
"I'm giving her my fullest support and I hope everything will work out for her and Jamaica as a whole. I am sure she would not want to have her reputation tarnished at this point in her career."
Cosmetologist Consela Barrett believes that the athlete's reported positive drug test "is a set-up".
"Veronica is a good girl and because they realise that Jamaica is on top, they will do anything to destroy us. I believe it is a set-up and so I really don't believe the result of the test," Barrett said.
Sports administrator Leon Jackson, who also expressed shock and disappointment at the disclosure, said that he hopes that athletes will "learn from what has happened".
"I am one of the most disappointed persons. I have been watching her from 'Champs' days, winning at every level and it is very difficult to understand why in the evening of her career she would want to resort to using performance enhancement drug. I hope it's a lesson for other athletes," said Jackson, adding that he has confidence in the system used to test athletes for banned substances.
Campbell Brown, who has represented Jamaica with distinction as a junior and senior athlete, has won three Olympic gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the world's greatest sporting showcase — the best by any Jamaican female athlete.
She has an equally brilliant achievement in the World Championship in Athletics with nine medals overall (two gold, and seven silver).
Campbell Brown, who is married to long-time schoolmate and sprinter Omar Brown, who dominated schoolboy athletics in his days and who also went on to represent Jamaica at the junior and senior levels, is expected to return to her homeland soon to face a Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission disciplinary hearing.
Officials have not named the drug involved.
— Additional reporting by HG Helps