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Livermore blames medication for failed drugs test

Howard Walker
Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jamaican sprinter Jason Livermore has admitted that his adverse analytical finding was due to medications he took for a “life-threatening” situation.

Livermore, 29, began his hearing in front of the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel yesterday for two anabolic steroids, Clomifhene and Mestorolone (metabolites), found in his urine sample in December 2016 which resulted in an anti-doping violation.

Clomifhene and Mestorolone are linked to the enhancement of low sperm quality in males and is also a medication used to treat infertility in women who do not ovulate. Livemore revealed he was taking the medications from November 29, 2016.

The Akan Track Club star, who is a 200m bronze medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said he had to think beyond track and field as he wants have a family, hence the necessity of the medications.

“I don't know what was in the medication. It is my human rights to attend to my personal health because at the end of the day, it is my health,” emphasised Livermore.

“I am looking for a life after track and field. Track and field is just one step. I am trying to secure a life after track and field where I can start a family of my own.

“I am here in front of this panel trying to convince them that it was a medication. I would like to say that I am sorry on behalf of myself, the JAAA and JADCO for any mishap. But the medication I took was simple medication to treat my problem,” he added.

Livermore's response caught the attention of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) laywer Judith Clarke, who asked.

“Are you saying on the scale of importance you would have exposed yourself to the risk of taking a prohibited substance in order to advance other aspects of your life?”

Livermore insisted he was just taking the medication to treat his condition. “I am not trying to ruin my track and field career,” he said.

The former Calabar High star noted that he thought once he declared the medications to JADCO, albeit a bit late, he would have been OK.

“Doctor said to me that it (medication) should not be any problem with JADCO, but if it does, tell them to contact me or come to him for a medical letter,” added Livermore.

Livermore, who turned professional in 2011, said he was not aware of the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) that may give an athlete the authorisation to take the needed medicine.

When quizzed by Clarke, Livermore admitted that it was in 2016 that he first heard of TUE.

“I know that if an athlete takes something illegal they can declare it. I know what JADCO had found and I knew where it was coming from,” said Livermore.

“I explained that I had a medical issue and my doctor prescribed (it) to treat the problem,” he added.

“My coach told me whatever I take make sure I declare it,” he added.

The athlete said he was never sensitised by JADCO before and he never visited their website to check what's on the prohibited list, and it was in 2017 that he knew of the banned list.

“Have you ever made the effort to find out and educate yourself about what the rules of JADCO are?” asked Clarke. Livermore could not answer.

However, under examination by his manager, Lorenzo Sanford, who acted as his legal representative, Livermore admitted to not being a drug cheat and said he was at a loss for words when he saw the WADA lab report on February 8, 2017.

“I felt so devastated, like at that moment the world has stopped, knowing that I was on medication and I wasn't aware of the TUE procedure. When I saw the report I burst out into tears because it was saying I am a drug cheat,” said Livermore.

The hearing, chaired by attorney Kent Gammon with Heron Dale and Dr Majorie Vassell completing the three-member panel, will continue next Monday, when they are expected to hear from Livermore's doctor.

Livermore was also a part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning 4x100m relay. He was also a member of Jamaica's gold medal-winning 4x200m team at the IAAF World Relays in 2015.

The former Calabar High School athlete has personal bests of 10.03 seconds and 20.13secs for the 100m and 200m, respectively. He represented Jamaica at the 2013 Moscow World Championships in the 200m.