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Jamaica hearing begins in Campbell-Brown case

September 2, 2013

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A disciplinary panel in Jamaica on Monday started a hearing into a positive drug test by Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the Caribbean island’s marquee sprinting stars.

Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, said the hearing began but declined to say where it’s being held. He said it was not unusual for the whereabouts of Jamaican disciplinary hearings to be secret.

Blake added that he has “no idea how long it will take” to conclude and a statement will be issued when the panel’s hearing is over. The process is being handled according to rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations, he said.

The disciplinary panel is made up of a former judge, a former senior military official and the head of the island’s medical association.

Campbell-Brown is being represented by P.J. Patterson, a former prime minister who led Jamaica from 1992 to 2006 and remains a highly influential figure on the island.

The 31-year-old champion sprinter is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. The 2004 and 2008 Olympic winner in the 200 was suspended from competition in June after testing positive for a banned diuretic at a May meet in Jamaica, according to a top Jamaican anti-doping official.

But the doping case involving Campbell-Brown appears to involve a “lesser” offense of unintentional use of a banned substance, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies told The Associated Press in June shortly after her positive test was revealed.

Diuretics can be used to mask the use of banned substances. But some diuretics are classified as a “specified substance,” a designation for drugs that might have been consumed without intent to enhance performance. Athletes can receive a reduced sanction if they can prove how a substance was ingested.

Campbell-Brown’s manager, Claude Bryan, has said she is not a “cheat” and is determined to clear her name. In a June statement, he said the decorated athlete does not accept “guilt of willfully taking a banned substance.”

In addition to her two individual Olympic titles, Campbell-Brown also won gold in the 4x100 relay at the 2004 Athens Games. In London, she won bronze in the 100 and silver as part of the 4x100 relay team.

A few weeks after Campbell-Brown’s positive test was revealed, Jamaican sprinting stars Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson also tested positive for a banned substance and didn’t attend the world championships in Moscow. The doping positives of three of the island’s sprinting stars staggered many in Jamaica, where track athletes are beloved and global domination in sprinting is a huge source of national pride.

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