The Jamaican government has offered financial and emotional support to beleaguered Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter, who was last week found guilty of a doping violation at the 2008 Olympic Games by the Disciplinary Panel of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The 31-year-old Carter tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine in a re-test of his sample that was first submitted following Jamaica’s gold medal sprint relay run almost nine years ago.
The stimulant was on the World Anti-Doping list of banned substances in 2004 but was reclassified as a specified substance in 2011. Jamaica has since been stripped of the gold medal which is expected to be awarded to Caribbean neighbours Trinidad and Tobago.
Carter is to appeal the sanction before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and has received support from the president of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake, who believes the athlete has a very good chance of having his sanction overturned. He also has the support of the government.
“We have always supported Nesta. We contributed an amount to him already and there is a balance outstanding from the case that we are going to cover and we are also going to contribute to his appeal,” Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in Jamaica, Olivia Grange said.
Just this week, former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson also weighed in on the issue.
Patterson, a seasoned attorney, who was instrumental in having a two-year ban against Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell Brown overturned in 2014, believes Carter stands a similar chance at success.
Grange is in agreement and reluctantly revealed that the Government has been assisting the banned sprinter.
She said government was not in the habit of blowing its own trumpet but helping the sprinter was of paramount importance.
“As minister I don’t feel I should broadcast the assistance that we are giving him. We don’t have to prove that to anybody. We don’t have to jump out there and make major statements. I think on principle, our assistance is genuine and that is what matters,” the minister said.
“Nesta knows that and the people who are involved and affected know that and I just want to reassure the country that our support is there and that we are not giving him personal support, we are giving him financial support.”
Carter’s appeal before the CAS is expected to cost about US$100,000 or about J$13 million. His attorneys have another two weeks in which to file their appeal that, if successful, would see Jamaica retaining its gold medal and the gold medal tally of Usain Bolt restored to nine.