After more than a month of insanity with regards to Jamaica’s drug testing programme, the financial fall out has begun. Usain Bolt is reported to have lost mega-bucks from a new sponsorship deal that fell through because it was feared that he would not competing at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

These fears came about when outgoing president of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA Jeff Fahey began spouting his drivel about having countries like Jamaica and Kenya banned from the major international meets because their respective drug testing agencies were not up to scratch.

It was only recently that World and  Olympic 100-metre champion Shelly Ann Frater Pryce threatened to strike if local authorities did not step to the defense of Jamaica’s athletes whose legitimacy is being challenged in light of accusations being made by WADA. This is despite the fact that the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) revealing that it had been testing Jamaica’s athletes.

Initial reports said that Jamaica’s elite athletes were tested more than any other set of athletes in the world leading up the London 2012 Games even though the local agency the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO) had failed to test sufficiently between February and June that year. It was this fact that started off the firestorm of controversy, which was triggered by an expose written by former executive director Ann Shirley and fueled by a rash of positive drug tests by Jamaican athletes this past summer.

In all of this the local body, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) has remained silent, too silent on the issue and has failed miserably to come to the defense of the athletes. It needed to have made it clear that WADA cannot ban anyone from the Olympics or World Championships, but that the bad press has not helped the cause of the Jamaican athletes, several of whom have been tested in and out of competition more than any other track and field athlete on the planet. The IAAF has confirmed that Usain Bolt was tested 12 times in 2012, Yohan Blake 14 times. Asafa Powell and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce have also been tested many times during the period.

IAAF President Lamine Diack,  its deputy general secretary Nick Davies and Lord Sebastien Coe, the man many believe is in line to replace Diack, have all taken WADA to task for the perceived witch hunt against Jamaica’s (and Kenya’s) doping commission and by extension, it’s athletes. Diack was scathing in his remarks against WADA, accusing them of attacking the sport of track and field, while Davies described the WADA onslaught as excessive. Coe revealed that Jamaica’s athletes have been tested an estimated 700 times by the IAAF while questioning whether WADA had even come close to conducting as many tests as they have.

Still the JAAA remains silent.

Why? No one knows. One wonders whether JAAA president Dr. Warren Blake is even engaged with what has been going on? Does he realize that without the elite athletes the JAAA is nothing but an organisation presiding over a struggling sport? I am sure that the IAAF officials are themselves wondering why the JAAA has remained so silent, so ineffective against the noise being created by the WADA.

Does the JAAA realize it is because of the athletes why the JAAA has contract options on the table, and that without them all those options would disappear? Even though Jamaica has been locked into an agreement with Puma until 2020, I believe, there have been sponsorship agreements on the table from several other shoe companies, a few of them reportedly sweeter than the current deal. Those deals stand to disappear if this onslaught against the athletes continues and they could stay away for a long time if Jamaica doesn’t aggressively counter the WADA onslaught.

Jamaica is currently in the final cycle of the Bolt era. It is an era when Jamaica has produced more world beaters than any other in its track and field history. 1948 and 1952 was the initial golden era when Jamaica won three gold medals at the Olympic Games. In 1952, Jamaica finished 13th in the medal table. These days top 10 has become the norm.

Between the Beijing Olympics and the London Games, Jamaica has won 10 gold medals, that’s more than it has won at all Olympic Games prior to this era combined. At the World Championships Jamaica has been even better. Including Berlin 2009, Jamaica has won a whopping 17 gold medals.  At the last world championships in Moscow the nation’s six gold medals, saw it finish third on the medal table, just one gold medal shy of topping the table. Never before has the country won so many gold medals at major championships in such a short period of time. There are also more special athletes in the pipeline. How special, only time will tell but it was only in July that this small, impoverished island nation topped the tables at the World Youth Championships with six gold medals, two more than Kenya and four more than the powerful United States.

If we are to protect this rich legacy and see future performances not endure the undeserved scrutiny this current era has had to endure, it would suit the JAAA to step up its game to meet the performances of the athletes. After all, wasn’t that one of the key messages behind the 2011 JAAA election campaign; bringing the administration in line with the incredible performances from the nation’s athletes?

Based on what we have seen so far, two years in, the administration is still playing catch up.

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  1. Nico says:

    Journalists such as LEIGHTON LEVY should also be blamed for shedding bad light on Jamaican athletes (pointing to the VCB Article). Welcome to the Jamaican Bandwagon Leighton.

  2. Chris says:

    “Catchup” I dont believe they are even trying at this point. I could be wrong but the only catchup I see is the one that I use on my fries.

  3. levyl says:

    I have not put athletes in a bad light. I stand by my arguments re VCB and I will continue to stand by them. I am a journalist not a public relations representative working for any particular athlete. If you and others refuse to see what is before you that is not my fault. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

  4. Jdonman says:

    Somethings doen’t make sense. If WADA cannot prevent athletes from competing at the olympics or Worlds then why would sponsors drop Bolt? Also, why didn’t his sponsors verify the validity of this jerk Fayeh? Was Usian really droped?? Or is it speculation. L Levy, I would encourage you not to disrespect the readers of this paper. Thats what came across in your comment to a response. Sounds angry and bitter

  5. levyl says:

    Because sponsors dont like bad news surrounding the people they sponsor. Just the thought that Bolt could miss the Olympics because of suspicion is something that you want to avoid when someone is spending millions of dollars for you to endorse them.

    And how exactly am I disrespecting the reader? I merely responded to a claim, a very misinformed claim made, by someone. I merely stated what was there for all to see. Those capable of objective thought. What did I say that was disrespectful? There is none so blind as he who will not see? Was that the comment? I merely stated what I see as a situation that afflicts many people who see and hear what they want while completely ignoring the reality of what is before them.

  6. levyl says:

    As for ‘sounds angry and bitter’ why would I be?

  7. dallo says:

    what i find odd is why info regarding iaaf 2012 testing in ja trickled down so grudgingly. was the din generated by all the speculations and innuendos so loud that it drowned out verifiable events that occurred right under our noses? does the jaaa need to review it’s job description or what?

  8. enquiring mind says:

    Dr Blake needs to go, and he needs to take Dr Wright with him. The sooner that Track & Field is rid of those two the better. Inept is an understatement.

  9. Frankie says:

    JAAA is the most incompetent sport organisation in this region. Jamaican athletes succeed on the international stage despite the lack of leadesrhip or direction from those who occupy positions in that disgusting and lousy. we need greater transparency and accountability from JAAA.

  10. Frankie says:

    The simple fact is that WADA and its friends in Europe have decided to conduct a holy jihad against Jamaica and its athletes. A big part of it is that the Jamaican athletes have insulted them and demonstrated that notwithstanding limited resources they can outperform athletes from the developed world. This same witchunt happened when WI used to dominate world cricket and England and New Zealand complained about fast bowling. We dont hear any more comment from these people about fast bowling and how its bad for the sport. The truth is that in the end Jamaica will whip them in Brazil and elsewhere.

  11. Frankie says:

    Get rid of Blake and his crew and have true and effective leadership and transparency. Hiow can an organisation that receive public funds remain silent on a matter of national importance? Conme on Jamaica this cant be right. Let us ask for s shake up of JAAA and for effective leadership.

  12. Jdonman says:

    @Frankie, it involes racism as well. For years Europeans thought they had found their White Usain Bolt in the name of Lemaitre (French Sprinter)Well, he hasn’t really panned out to expecation.

  13. Thatiam says:

    Mr. Leighton Levy are you married? If not, I think you are very eloquent and hot and sexy just from the way you defend yourself. Very classy and manly. I’m loving you from afar.

  14. SMH says:

    @Thatiam. Smh!!!!

  15. h says:

    Is this strictly a matter for the JAAA?

  16. Courtney Brown says:

    Where was your voice Mr. Levy when Ann Shirley and Paul Wright, while innocent athletes were still in the water, were busy feeding blood and entrails to the circling WADA sharks? You and others were saying dont blame them. Now you have the gall to ask where is the JAAA in the defense of Jamaica’s name. You hypocrite!!!

  17. F. A. Blackwood says:

    Should you be indulging in cyber sexual harrassment Thatiam? I note Mr Levy has not replied to your 2 posts. Moderator, should that be published? I think not.

  18. levyl says:

    If you manage to put your emotion aside and be prepared to reason objectively then you can engage me in conversation. But you are obviously unaware of the attendant issues so I forgive your ignorance.

  19. levyl says:

    Mr Brown for you information….http://gleanerblogs.com/sports/?p=2149

  20. Ray says:

    The fact that Bolt et al have been tested several times means nothing.

    Lance Armstrong was tested hundreds of times and we all know what happened to him, and he is an American!!!

  21. garth Brown says:

    Mr Levy u sounded d most emotional of all the comments

  22. levyl says:

    I sounded emotional or you assume that I sounded emotional.

  23. levyl says:

    My comments are written only to respond as stoicly as I can and speak directly in response to the comments I have responded to. Do you detect emotion in this statement?

  24. dallo says:

    @Ray…that’s old news…we know that. but the effectiveness of drug testing is not the issue here at all.

    citing armstrong’s nationality is a head scratcher…what you saying?

  25. Kalonge Bryan says:

    When the idea of a failed drug test come to mind,the notion is that people deliberately take special performance enhancing drugs.For most of the athletes tested positive, I don’t think that is the case, and for this reason the JAAA must say something, simply because the athletes, most of whom, are responsible for everything they need and every move they make are not, or does not have the requisite personnel to advise them properly.

    Therefore Blake and his team must do something to ensure that the athletes don’t act on their own, or on the advice of the so-called personal trainers, most of whom are trying to “eat a food” and will ill-advise the athletes.

  26. Nigel Taylor says:

    Mr. Levy,

    I am glad you made your statements. This may be part of the reason Dr. Blake commented on the situation in his Annual Report.
    The JAAA needs to consider getting out information in a more timely fashion because the rest of the world cannot believe we are doing so well in T and F so they believe we are cheats. Some even want us to waste our scarce resources and test our kids at Champs .

    Independent people run tests up on tests and catch almost no one(leaving out Asafa and Sherone). We catch our own with fewer tests and unlike many other nations have no history of trying to hide adverse analytical findings.

    From the false start rule, to 4 year bans for first offences (even with questionable enhancers, to threats of Olympic bans, to test your junior athletes and create biolgical passport (where no reference exists as Merlene Ottey’ case highlighted), to Jamaica’s athletes were undertested , to Jamaica’s administrators are incompetent and have clashes of interests we have a litany of reasons to feel we are under somewhat undue pressure. We have some part to play it is clear but re: testing should it really be an expectation that a criminal should police himself ?

    You need responsible well trained external parties to apprehend wrongdoers and bring them in to justice. WADA’s cries largely outline its own short-comings. They need regional centers to do the testing. Third World Countries cannot afford to waste valuable resources on drug testing when the hospitals have no drugs.

    Dr Paul also needs to be careful as his cries for additional testing seem to be self-motivated based on his vocation. He needs to let the outsiders take that up. I also must say we definitely as a nation do not want to get help from a single country such as the USA which has offered. We need to channel all our efforts through multinational cooperative operations where Jamaica will have cover from having witness nations around.

  27. Paris Taylor says:

    I think the impasse with the JAAA and the athletes is being ignored by the relevant bodies which should take heed. I must say the athletes some form of strong voice to see their grouses in an applicable way. the dysfunctional attitude of the JAAA has created a wrong feedback from the public for a better word.

    Why couldn’t the JAAA head Dr. Warren Blake come out a little earlier and speak on behalf of the super athletes whom he represents. It is a shame the manner in which has gone on deaf ears. He claimed he was saying things and persons did not hear because he only spoke on one forum on topical issues at a time. Foolishness absolute nonsensical statement from a man we all consider to be bright and thought to be vibrant in his dispositions.

    I don’t care what the JAAA has in mind but the athletes should be foremost in their mind at all times because they are our treasured legacy. We don’t want to spoil the great product called Jamaican athletes by to fulfill our insatiable egos. We need to fulfill the total ambition of our athletes if we take up the utmost task of protecting this grand legacy. You will not be blameless if you take the responsibility to transform the lives of the athletes and you subsequently ignore the call for service to the athletes.

    No one wants to be a loser but WADA seems to be gaining ground on what doesn’t exist in our country. Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce is absolutely right in her assessment of the wherewithal’s of the JAAA in protecting their interest. We need firm and genuine administrators to ensure that we can stand up to any form of scrutiny when we are in dire straits. I implore others to come out of their comfort zones and speak out like Shelly Ann to eradicate the passionate talks of Dick Pound and others like Carl Lewis. I am taken aback by the advocacy acumens of Mrs. Shelly Pryce.

    God has blessed our shores with very brilliant athletes who have done us very proudly in many instances on the international stage. We need to reciprocate these good feelings to magnify our hope of achieving even more greater achievements. These drug cheat are trying to steal our hearts away and mercy say no. I do hope one of my favourite athletes Asafa Powell will be vindicated as drug cheating allegation mounts over his head.

    Asafa for one has proven over and over how sub 10s are done with utmost ease. I don’t know if we shall see him running again at that level but please allow him to fulfill his ultimate talents of running 100 sub 10s. Mega Bucks is no longer a motivation at this time is going so I want him to achieve at least that. Strong will plus perseverance mi seh.

  28. Lannate says:

    @ Paris Taylor, well said

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28 comments so far
levyl Posted by: levyl November 20, 2013 at 8:24 am