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Jamaica vows to overhaul drug-testing programme

ESPN staff
November 1, 2013 « Djokovic continues resurgence in Paris | Chartbeat test »
Asafa Powell tested positive earlier this year © Getty Images
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Jamaica's sports minister Natalie Neita-Headley has pledged to drag the island's drug-testing programme up to international standards after a visit from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

WADA arrived in Jamaica earlier this week after allegations made by a former chief officer at the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission that the organisation's regime was highly inadequate. WADA president John Fahey had vowed to carry out an "extraordinary" audit of JADCO, and warned that Jamaica may face expulsion from the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Renee Anne Shirley, who quit JADCO in February, had claimed they carried out only a single out-of-competition test in the build-up to London 2012, and that they never used blood-testing kits while she was there.

Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson have all recently tested positive. Campbell-Brown was handed only a public warning.

But according to Neita-Headley, JADCO's two-day meeting with WADA was "constructive" and "fruitful".

It is believed that WADA will make their audit public after their conference in Johannesburg, which starts on November 12 and runs for four days.

Neita-Headley said: "I am pleased to confirm that the three-member Wada team visited Jamaica and engaged in constructive meetings with JADCO over the past two days.

"They had very fruitful discussions with our team and have committed to working in closer partnership with JADCO to make it not only world class but also best in class.

"There is no doubt that we have done some things well but, like with all other growing organisations, JADCO is only five years young and there are areas that we are seeking to improve."

JADCO are looking to fill nine new positions within two months, following the recent appointment of Carey Brown as executive director.

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