Chairman of the Barbados National Anti-Doping Commission, Dr. Adrian Lorde, sees nothing untoward in yesterday’s testing of the entire 44-member Jamaica athletic team in Russia for the imminent IAAF World Championships.
The athletes, including Olympic champion Usain Bolt, were tested while at their Moscow training camp. Team officials confirmed that agents from the World Anti-doping Agency arrived at the camp in Moscow, where all of the athletes had blood taken in the sweeping operation.
It is believed that this is an unprecedented occurrence where all the members of a track team were subjected to drug testing. The procedure reportedly lasted just over five hours.
Lorde told Barbados TODAY he was not surprised at the mass testing and noted it was likely the entire Barbados team could also be tested. He suggested that it would be no surprise if there were similar mass testing again before the actual championships got underway on Saturday.
Lorde, who recently called on the Barbados Government to speed up the passage of legislation dealing with doping in sport, described what had occurred in Moscow as athlete biological passport testing. This is where drug testers monitor selected biological parameters over time that reveal the effects of doping rather than attempting to detect the substance itself. The athlete biological passport was recently introduced for every competitor at the just concluded Confederations Football Cup in Brazil and plans are afoot by FIFA for every player at the 2014 World Cup to undergo the same procedure.
Dr. Lorde noted that recently a number of Jamaican athletes had tested positive for banned substances and yesterday’s testings could not be considered out of place.
The Jamaican track and field programme has been under increased scrutiny over the last two months after former World 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell and his training partner Sherone Simpson were among five athletes who tested positive at the Jamaican championships in Kingston in June.
Powell and Simpson returned positive tests for the stimulant oxilofrine, results that came just weeks after two-time Olympic women’s 200 metres champion Veronica Campbell Brown also returned a positive test at a meeting in May.
Meanwhile, Bolt has remained focused on events on the track, rather than off it, and said he was ready to reclaim the 100 metres title he lost two years ago and to defend the 200 metres successfully.
Bolt has stepped up training since his arrival in Moscow for the August 10 to 18 games at the Luzhniki Stadium.
“Of course, it’s very important (to win back the title),” the 26-year-old Bolt said of the 100m crown he lost to injured teammate Yohan Blake when he false-started in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011.
The loss however has hardly scarred an impressive resume that includes Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay events in Beijing and London, and five world titles.
“I want to keep winning every race that I compete in, and the 100m and 200m finals in Moscow will be the biggest races for me this year,” Bolt said.
“It’s why I’m working hard with my coach to give myself the chance to do that,” he noted.
The world record holder in both the 100m and 200m added: “My season has been good, I’m getting stronger every week and my execution and speed endurance is steadily improving.”
“Right now I’m in good shape, focused and feeling well, training hard, and I’m ready.” (WG)