Sport

VCB on the attack!

VCB scolds media, JADCO, while offering advice to JAAA

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014    

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A fully absolved Veronica Campbell Brown launched a scathing attack on the media, lambasted the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) and offered advice to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) at a press conference last Friday.

Campbell Brown, 31, who was exonerated from any doping violation last month by the sport's highest body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), after it was said she failed a drug test last May, didn't mince her words, but spoke with power and measured tranquility.

"On June 3, 2013 I received the news no clean athlete expects to hear, that of an adverse analytical finding. After the initial shock, my team and I set out on a two-part mission -- the clearing of my name and restoring my character, which the local media on the forefront, and the foreign press went about smearing," said Campbell Brown.

"I can only ask the local media to seek truth in their quest to be the first with the latest scoop. While I may have the spiritual strength and support to withstand your false reporting, some boy or girl, if pulled in a similar situation, may not have the same strength and support team and could be emotionally destroyed by your false reporting," she added.

She continued: "What is another day of writing for you is another day of a person's character and life you maliciously destroyed by your baseless reporting."

Veronica Campbell Brown, more commonly known as VCB, is one of Jamaica's most decorated athletes. Bursting onto the scene in 1999 at the IAAF World Youth Championships and winning the 100m and the 4x100m relay, and copping the sprint double at the World Juniors in 2000, she became one of a handful of athletes to win gold medals at World Championships at the youth, junior and senior levels.

She is also the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200m events in 2004 and 2008 for approximately 38 global medals.

The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador was not pleased with what she called JADCO's outburst to the media, particularly the overseas press.

"To JADCO, I think prudence would be better in furthering the cause of a clean sport, rather than public outbursts which are factually empty," said VCB.

"Rules are to be respected and followed by athletes and leaders alike. Running to the foreign press saying you are waiting with excitement for the highest response for a public warning or internationally questioning the IQ of the very athlete you are charged to serve does not inspire confidence or lead to a healthy national anti-doping organisation-athlete-friendly relationship," she pointed out.

However, despite her disappointment and ordeal, VCB was more lenient of the local ruling body, the JAAA, and offered her advice.

"To the JAAA, I implore you to be more supportive of athletes who have done well. We the athletes need to have confidence that you are working on our behalf and that we are in a partnership for the betterment of Jamaica's track and field and the sport on a whole, rather than an us-and-them relationship," said Campbell Brown.

"There has to be a more open line of communication and more trust between the association and the athletes. I know there are some good people at the JAAA, so I am hoping that collectively they can get it right for the good of our sport and country," she pleaded.

She continued: "I take this opportunity, as I know my management had previously done, to respectfully ask the JAAA for a symposium for stakeholders, both foreign and domestic."

With a spate of failed drug tests last year that rocked Jamaica's track and field image, VCB warned young athletes to be careful.

"I encourage you to be very careful in selecting your inner circle. You will need people who are emotionally strong, spiritually sound and level-headed."

Campbell Brown, whose foundation was established to mentor and assist aspiring young woman financially, said the ordeal was a major setback.

"To be unable to compete was emotionally and financially devastating all told. This ordeal cost me in excess of 90 per cent of my earnings. The ripple effect affected my charities, most notable my foundation, and my contribution to my alma mater Vere Technical High School, among others," she revealed.

Since being exonerated, VCB was selected to represent her country at the World Indoors Championship in Sopot, Poland.

She made it clear that she stood tall among her peers with no ill feeling that they might have been looking at her as a cheat.

"My confidence in my God and saviour Jesus Christ, I say I have been freed even before my immaculate athletic biological passport said I was free. Yes, I was free even before the lie detector test said I was free. Yes, I was free even before the CAS ruling said I was free, because the Bible says you shall know the truth and the truth, shall set you free," said Campbell Brown.

"I resumed my career and will continue to do my best for my country and my fans worldwide. I stand proudly as a UNESCO track and field ambassador. I will continue my work for the Veronica Campbell Foundation helping young girls to fulfil their dreams, and I hope corporate Jamaica will join me in this crusade," she ended.

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