West Indies players and regional athletes by extension need to take anti-doping seriously, says Dr Adrian Lorde, chairman of the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO).
His comments came in the wake of West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell’s scheduled appearance before an anti-doping disciplinary panel for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday July 20 in Jamaica over an alleged drug violation.
Comparing countries losing medals in team events if one of the team was found in breach of doping laws, Lorde told Barbados TODAY it was unlikely that West Indies would lose their 2016 International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup title of which the 27-year-old Jamaican played a major role in securing. The medical doctor stressed there was no cause for concern at this stage unless another team member also had a doping violation against him to add to Russell’s.
“It would take at least two persons on the team for West Indies to be implicated. So it doesn’t have to be a missed test, or if somebody had a positive test or was accused of trafficking substance. It is a combination of two anti-doping rule violations: failure to file whereabouts and having missed a test or three missed tests. If Andre Russell is found to have committed a violation, it is only one violation – one missed test – so he would not be sanctioned at all. For one missed test you would not be sanctioned, you would need three missed tests in a twelve-month period,” he explained.
But the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) revealed in March this year that Russell had missed three drug tests in 12 months and therefore under the anti-doping laws that was equivalent to having failed a drug Test. If found guilty the all-rounder could face a two-year ban since athletes are supposed to make their whereabouts known to local anti-doping agencies and testing facilities.
Lorde said there was a need to get more sporting bodies involved in anti-doping both locally and regionally.
“They need to take anti-doping seriously. The West Indies Cricket Board and West Indies Players Association have held several anti-doping education seminars. Right now the ladies are in Guyana and this week an anti-doping seminar was held. So whenever there is a tournament going on the West Indies Cricket Board insists that members of the West Indies team be educated and they attend these seminars. So they are aware.
“We need to involve more of the national cricket teams at the various levels, the senior team, under-nineteen, we need to involve them more in this [training] not only regionally but on a local level,” Lorde explained, while acknowledging there was increased awareness about anti-doping within the region.
Ever since the allegation first came to light there has been a cloud over the Jamaican right-hander and whether he would have been selected to play for the regional side in the ICC T20 World Cup or cricket in general. However he was given the go-ahead to continue playing pending the relevant hearing.
Today, Russell’s lawyer Patrick Foster confirmed that there would be a hearing next week.
“The matter is set for hearing next week Wednesday at 10 a.m. The hearing will deal with preliminary matters, but evidence will begin on another date,” Foster told Reuters.
Last March, JADCO independent disciplinary panel chairman Kent Pantry revealed they had received notification of Russell’s violation about two weeks prior and he had appointed a panel to hear the case.
Russell has been a leading player in the T20 format across the globe. He played a crucial role in West Indies winning the 2016 World T20 title in March and April. He was part of winning campaigns for Sydney Thunder in the 2015-16 Big Bash League and for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League in February. He is also part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad in the India Premier League and is currently playing for Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League.