Usain Bolt, triple Olympic Champion and newly crowned IAAF male athlete of the year, reveals he lost a sponsorship contract due to Jamaica’s current anti-doping controversy.
Jamaica’s anti-doping programme was flagged up recently by Renee Anne Shirley, a former senior anti-doping official for the country, as she stated only one out of competition doping test occurred between February 2012 and the Olympics.
Furthermore, former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, two time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and 4x100m 2012 Olympic silver medallist Sherone Simpson have recently failed drugs tests and were thus excluded from the 2013 World Championships Team.
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) outgoing President John Fahey, Jamaica could face non-compliance penalties if the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) does not improve their procedures. Penalties for being non-compliant with the WADA code include exclusion from the Olympic Games. However, according to Jamaica ‘s minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, Jamaica has been given no indication that it is non-compliant with WADA.
However, Bolt claims that these rumours have cost him a big-money sponsorship deal. He stated at a news conference in Moncao that “there is a lot going on with this drug thing that I really feel they need to be clear (about) and clarify because now it is causing problems for me when it comes to making money in my sport. ” He went on to say “I am not too happy… track and field is my job. “
Jamaica have recently agreed to work with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to improve its procedures, thus the exclusion threat has lessened. Bolt reiterates the importance of overcoming the controversy and says “we really need to get this out of the way and move past this, get the rules down, get everything straight and get it down fast because we need to move on.”
Lamine Diack, the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, supported Bolt and accused WADA of pinpointing countries, such as Jamaica and Kenya and publicly criticising them. All are in hope that JADCO will be found to be complying with WADA ruling, enabling some of the best athletes in the world to continue in the sport cleanly and fairly.