Usain Bolt career on line as Jamaica face expulsion
Jamaica was on the brink of being cast into the international wilderness last night after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) vowed to take action that could mean the island is deemed non-compliant with its drug-testing responsibilities.
WADA president John Fahey delivered a withering rebuke to the world's most successful sprinting nation over its "farcical" attempts to defer an audit of its anti-doping programme until the new year.
WADA director-general David Howman had planned to lead a commission to Jamaica after being invited by the island's prime minister to investigate revelations from the former executive director of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) that it conducted no drug tests in the five months leading up to last year's Olympics.
Jadco's refusal to accommodate the commission during the remainder of 2013 infuriated Fahey, who promised an "appropriate" response, with non-compliance with the WADA Code the ultimate sanction.
That could have dire consequences for Usain Bolt and company, who may be barred from competing at athletics' biggest events – including the Olympics – until the row is resolved.
Branding JADCO's position "farcical", Fahey said: "The current position is unacceptable and we're not going to take it lying down, their suggestion that they'll talk to us next year.
"To suggest to WADA they're not ready to meet with us to talk about their problem until sometime next year is unsatisfactory, it's totally unacceptable to me and we shall act appropriately within an appropriate time frame."
Pressed over whether Jamaica would be declared non-compliant, Fahey added: "There are a number of options. You can read into that exactly what those words are likely to mean."
The former head of JADCO, Renee Anne Shirley, blew the whistle on Jamaica's lack of drug testing two months ago, having quit in protest earlier this year. Following Shirley's revelations, Howman warned Jamaica risked expulsion from the Olympics and World Championships if it failed to address her concerns.
JADCO responded by claiming its drug-testing procedures were in keeping with "international standards", while chairman Herb Elliott branded Shirley a "Judas" and a "bit demented".
Meanwhile, Fahey cast doubt on whether Lance Armstrong could be persuaded to come clean over precisely what he knows about the culture of doping in cycling. Fahey said: "Lance Armstrong's had many opportunities to indicate to the world his remorse for his totally unsatisfactory behaviour, his bullying, his lying and cheating.
"I believe there is a need for an inquiry to give a chance for anybody who wants to contribute. If Lance Armstrong's a party to that, he's welcome. But I won't hold my breath." (© Daily Telegraph, London)