Sport

Sadly, we've been down this road before

VCB adds to list of Jamaicans failing drug tests in recent past

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 17, 2013    

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REPORTS of a failed drug test by Jamaican sprint darling Veronica Campbell Brown late last week sent shock waves of seismic proportions through the local and international track and field fraternity and elicited a variety of responses from her legions of fans both here and overseas.

Campbell Brown failed a drug test at the Jamaica International Invitational in May this year, and after being notified of the finding travelled to Montreal, Canada, on Friday where the 'B' sample was tested in her presence which confirmed the finding of the 'A' sample.

The failed drug test by Campbell Brown brought the total to just under 24 Jamaicans who have been sanctioned for positive findings since the late 1980s, and a staggering 13 since 2008.

Julian Dunkley tested positive for an anabolic steroid just before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, while five athletes including Yohan Blake, Sherri-Ann Brooks and Marvin Anderson returned positive tests for a stimulant at the National Trials a year later.

Also in 2009, IAAF World Championships 200m finalists Christopher Williams was suspended for two years after he returned a positive test at a meet in Spain.

In 2010, World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce returned a positive test for the non-performance enhancing drug oxycodone at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on May 23, after 800m runner Bobby-Gaye Wilkins failed a drug test at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, and was also banned for two years.

Steve Mullings was banned for life in 2011 after his second positive test for a diuretic at the National Championships.

Last year 400m runner Dominique Blake and 800m champion Ricardo Cunningham both failed tests for different drugs, and while Blake was last week sentenced to six years after her second failed test, Cunningham was given a public warning.

The response to Campbell Brown's failed drug test was, however, met with cries of alarm from all corners and the prevailing sentiment was one of disbelief as many backed one of the most beloved athletes ever in Jamaica's history, saying they will wait to hear the explanation.

Some pointed to her unblemished record since competing through the youth and junior ranks to being the most decorated female athlete ever in Jamaica's history, with seven Olympic medals -- three gold, two silver and two bronze; nine World Championships medals -- two gold and seven silver; back-to-back IAAF World Indoor 60m titles; three Commonwealth Games silver medals, as well as gold medals at the World Youth and World Junior, and Pan-American Games, CARIFTA Games and Central American and Caribbean Games.

The two-time Olympic 200m champion and winner of gold medals in the 100m and 200m at the World Championships has personal bests of 10.76sec in the 100m done in 2011 in Ostrava, and 21.74sec in the 200m set at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

Those times place her eighth overall in the 100m and the fourth fastest Jamaican ever, and ninth best in the 200m ever and third best Jamaican.

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