October 14 - Jamaica's under-fire drugs testing programme is set to be investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency, it was revealed today.
It follows allegations by Renee Anne Shirley, the former director of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), who claimed that out-of-competition testing was insufficient ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
A number of Jamaican stars, including Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson, who won silver medals at London 2012, and former world 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell, have since tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.
But Montreal-based WADA remain unhappy that the visit will not take place until next year.
David Howman, director general of WADA, admitted that it was an "extraordinary visit" which had been triggered by allegations from Shirley that there was a near complete breakdown in Jamaica's out-of-competition testing from January 2012 to the opening of the Olympics in July.
WADA confirmed that there was, as Shirley asserted, "a significant gap of no testing" as Jamaican athletes trained in the months ahead of the Games, and that it would investigate.
"There was a period of, and forgive me if I don't have the number of months right, but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation," Howman told Associated Press.
"There might have been one or two, but there was no testing.
"So we were worried about it, obviously."
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) claimed that they conducted extensive out-of-competition testing last year on Jamaican athletes, including Usain Bolt, who won three Olympic gold medals at London 2012, replicating his performance at Beijing 2008.
Jamaica's athletes won a total of 12 medals at London 2012, including four gold.
According to the IAAF, Jamaica had 19 athletes in the world governing body's registered testing pool (RTP) who were tested 126 times, an average of 6.63 tests for each athlete, although Bolt was tested on 12 occasions, more than any other competitor.
By comparison, 43 athletes from the United States were in the 2012 pool were tested 222 times, an average of 5.16.
Howman, though, believes that Jamaica should allow WADA access quicker to carry out its audit, rather than being forced to wait until next year.
"It doesn't over-impress us," he said.
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