MVP athletes locked out of Stadium East

MVP athletes locked out of Stadium East

Shelly-Ann, Asafa and Melanie Walker among 14 athletes barred by security guards

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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WORLD and Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Melaine Walker, and Asafa Powell were among a group of 14 world class MVP athletes locked out of the Stadium East training facility where they showed up for training this morning despite a standing arrangement with Independence Park Limited (IPL) for them to train at the facility six days per week.

MVP assistant coach, Paul Francis, told the Observer that he got a call at 5:29 this morning from the athletes to say that they had been barred from
entering the compound by security guards on duty who told them they had been instructed by IPL not to let them in.

Head coach, Stephen Francis, was livid as he told the Observer that the athletes were forced to stand outside the gate indefinitely as leaving would have jeopardisd their status in accordance with IAAF anti-doping rules which say they must declare their location at all times for out-of competition (OTC) testing.

As luck would have it, the local anti-doping officials, Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO), showed up this morning.

"They were out there on the road waiting and they can't train because these idiots could not even give them a day's notice," Francis fumed.

"I'm sure if something is going on there they could have used it until're supposed to give us some kind of notice because we have 14 or 15 international athletes, all of whom are on the drug testing list who have to declare their whereabouts at least 24 hours in advance," he explained.

"These are the kinds of things we have to put up with trying to compete against people internationally and when they win these are the first people jump up on the bandwagon talking about this and that and not even to facilitate us to train."

Francis said JADCO officials later facilitated the athletes by allowing them to travel to their base at the University of Technology for testing to be conducted.

"Is a good thing I told them they must stay there," he added."If we never tell them to stay then the whole team would have been suspended for missing a drug test."

Calls from the Observer to the mobile phone of IPL General Manager Major Desmon Brown went unanswered.

"This can happen again and again because of the unprofessionalism of these people," Francis concluded.

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