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USADA to help Jamaica through problems

November 13, 2013

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — USADA is willing to help Jamaica’s troubled anti-doping authority through its problems, chief executive Travis Tygart said Wednesday, because the Caribbean island’s star athletes “deserve better.”

Tygart said JADCO “reached out” to the United States Anti-Doping Agency soon after an inspection visit to Jamaica late last month by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The three bodies have had further discussions at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in South Africa this week over a USADA-JADCO partnership.

“They need to get help,” Tygart told The Associated Press.

WADA President John Fahey has also said JADCO would benefit from being partnered with another anti-doping authority.

The WADA audit of Jamaica’s anti-doping processes came after it was revealed there was a near complete breakdown of its out-of-competition testing in the run-up to last year’s London Olympics. Eight Jamaican athletes have failed drug tests this year, including former world 100 meter record holder Asafa Powell, putting the country’s world-beating sprinters under even more scrutiny.

“We want to see the WADA code implemented and their athletes deserve better,” Tygart said. “Right now they’re being let down by their national doping (commission).”

He said the island’s near-complete absence of out-of-competition testing in the first six months of 2012 was “unacceptable.”

Tygart added USADA was “ready and willing” to help and already has aided its Jamaican counterpart by sending a team there in 2009 and hosting some Jamaican officials at the USADA offices in the United States. But the USADA head warned that it would only work with JADCO if there was a “concerted effort” by JADCO to improve its anti-doping efforts.

WADA will examine the report on its two-day inspection visit to Jamaica on the last day of this week’s conference on Friday, after giving JADCO and Jamaica’s sports minister Natalie Neita-Headley a chance to review its recommendations and give any feedback.

WADA director general David Howman met with Neita-Headley in Johannesburg on Tuesday about the audit report and said she had agreed to make the improvements WADA has asked for to get JADCO back on track.

“We are working very closely together now to implement them (the recommendations) and I am very confident that the program in Jamaica which suffered a little bit in the past will return to its robust state,” Howman said. “The issues have certainly been aired and clarified in the best possible way with the minister.”

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Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

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