MONTEGO BAY, St James — Under fire Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell Brown has started the process of clearing her name following a failed drug test earlier this month after winning a 100m race at the National Stadium.
Five days after news broke that the many-time Olympic and World Championships gold medallist returned a positive test at the Jamaica International Invitational, an IAAF World Challenge meet in Kingston on May 4, Campbell Brown, the most accomplished Jamaican female sprinter, defended her name while apologising "for any embarrassment and or hurt this devastating news has caused".
A release from her management team, On Track Management, headed by Claude Bryan, said: "Veronica is not a cheat, she has via hard work and dedication accomplished a record on the track, which is absolutely remarkable. Her faith, which rests not in device or creed, will see her through this dark period."
The 31-year-old athlete's preparation to defend her 200m title at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August, has been interrupted, and she will almost certainly miss the biennial event.
She will also miss the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships, set to start tomorrow at the National Stadium, as she has been provisionally suspended until a hearing has been set up to give her the chance to clear her name.
News of the failed drug test broke last Thursday evening and, just over 24 hours later, late Friday night, it was also heard that the 'B' sample that was tested in the presence of her representatives at the IAAF accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada, confirmed the finding of the 'A' sample.
The release yesterday said she would not be making any statements, but "while not accepting guilt of willfully taking a banned substance, she wholeheartedly apologises to her family, Jamaica, her sponsors, the governing body, the world athletics family, her supporters, as well as those she worked with in various non-athletic causes for any embarrassment and or hurt this devastating news has caused".
The release came about an hour after the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) issued a release identifying Campbell Brown as the athlete that failed the drug test and said she had "voluntarily withdrawn herself from competition and accepted the provisional suspension".
JAAA President Dr Warren Blake also told the Jamaica Observer that the JAAA, under instructions from the sport's world governing body, the International Associations of Athletics Federations (IAAF), would be setting up a disciplinary committee that will hear the case.
When asked if that was unusual, Dr Blake said it was not, and pointed out that it was a JAAA-organised panel and not the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCo) that had heard the case involving World and Olympic women's 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after she had returned a positive test for a powerful pain killer at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai, China, in 2010.
Yesterday, Bryan said his client's record on the track and her integrity were not to be questioned. "There are two things that are unmistakable about Veronica Campbell Brown. On one hand she has had good success on the track, and on the other she has always stood for and carried herself with dignity. That she should now be accused of infringing on anti-doping rules is a shock to her, her loyal supporters and many others, in not just sports, but also the other spheres into which she has extended herself to help."
It also said Campbell Brown "remains an ardent believer in the purity of competition, the beauty of the sport and resolute in the fact that unearned suffering has redemptive qualities".
The former Vere Technical High, Barton County Community College and University of Arkansas student has represented Jamaica at every level from the Carifta Games, through the Central American and Caribbean Games, Pan American Games, IAAF World Youth and IAAF World Juniors through to the Olympic Games and World Championships, and won her first Olympic medal, a silver in the 4x100m at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, where as an 18-year-old high school student, she teamed up with her idol Merlene Ottey.
Since then she has won back-to-back gold medals in the 200m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 in Beijing, China, and two bronze in the 100m in Athens and last year in London.
She also won gold medals at the IAAF World Championships in the 100m in 2007 in Osaka, Japan, and 200m in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011, as well as back-to-back gold medals in the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2010 and Istanbul, Turkey, last year.