Understanding what will make Jamaica WADA compliantSunday, December 01, 2013
BY RACHEL IRVING
AS I sat through the various sessions of the 4th World Anti-doping Conference in South Africa and listened to various presentations and interventions from developed and developing countries, there emerged a clear picture of the requirements needed to remain consistently compliant with the WADA code.
Jamaica Anti-Doping Agency, JAAA, our athletes and coaches have to carefully tread the hazardous course of anti-doping science and law in this new era of smart testing. The sprinting capital of the world needs resources to effectively fund its national anti-doping programme.
Some who do not quite understand what is required will say Jamaica should have joined the Caribbean Regional Anti-doping Organisation (RADO) because funds are pooled by 15 countries, including Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, to run a combined anti-doping programme.
If Jamaica was a part of RADO based on the new proposed Test Distribution Plan (TDP), most of the combined resources would have to be focused on Jamaica because Jamaicans are the dominant sprinters in the Americas. Can you imagine how our Caribbean neighbours would be feeling if most of RADO's resources were spent on Jamaican sprinters? Just as angry as Jamaicans are about the imbalance in trade between Jamaica and Trinidad. Jamaica is undoubtedly extraordinary with talent as epitomised by Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce copping the IAAF Male and Female Athletes of the Year (2012).
The price of success is enormous. Other countries will not fund us to outclass them, so collectively Jamaica will have to find a way to sustain a consistent anti-doping programme.
Some Africans made a suggestion on how Jamaica's anti-doping programme can be sustained. Usain Bolt's picture, they said, was in front of the British parliament during the London Olympics. They suggested that when our athlete's picture is used nationally like that a fee should be levered by our government for usage.
This money can be used to help fund JADCO. The JAAA must also help JADCO to protect itself. The JAAA will have to be vigilant in checking the credibility of coaches. Coaches with a questionable character should not hang around national teams.
Jamaica has this questionable entourage mentality that must be cauterised. There will be a mandatory investigation of coaches from a team if more than one athlete from that team is involved in a doping offence. If a coach supervises a minor who is involved in a doping offence there will be an automatic investigation and the investigation might not be local.
Athletes must play a greater role in their own protection. You, the athletes have worked too hard to allow your dream to go up in a cloud for inadvertent use of contaminated supplements. Athletes have no excuse not to get themselves familiar with the revamped code. There is a short overview for athletes on the run and for those who want to understand more there is a hyperlink that outlines the athlete's right and responsibilities under the revamped code. The universities must step up and not just get involved in basic educational programmes but should provide JADCO with some of the statistical tools the agency needs to guide a smart testing plan. The three Ms — misstep, misunderstanding, misinformation are behind us. Let us look forward to Rio, 2016.
Editor's note: Dr Rachel Irving is the Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
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