KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Craig Reedie arrived in Jamaica on Friday to check on the Caribbean sprint capital’s anti-doping efforts following a string of high-profile positive drug tests.
Reedie, the first WADA president to visit Jamaica, was joined on the trip by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) presidential candidate Sebastian Coe.
Reedie, who started his three-year term as head of WADA in January 2014 is scheduled to meet with the boards of the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO), the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) as well as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
Shortly after his arrival Reedie said he believes the Caribbean sprint nation is moving in the right direction in improving its drug testing program.
“We are familiar with the recommendations that we made (to JADCO), we are familiar with the steps that Jamaica have taken and they all seem to us to be highly productive and heading in exactly the right direction,” said Reedie told Reuters. “We’ll know more after I speak to the people here in Kingston.
“But I was always on the record that this was never a test free zone.
“All your stars are in the registered testing pool of the IAAF and testing takes place, it’s just that I think rest of the world expected Jamaica to do rather more Jamaica,” the WADA boss added.
A three-man WADA team came to Jamaica in October 2013 to carry out a forensic audit of the JADCO following a string of high-profile positive drug tests including Olympic and world championship medalists Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Campbell-Brown, who tested positive for a banned diuretic in May 2013, had her two year suspension from the IAAF over-turned by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) because the collection of her samples by the JADCO did not follow WADA’s international standards.
Powell and Simpson, who tested positive for a banned stimulant, also had their 18-month suspensions reduced to six months by CAS.
The island’s reputation as a sprint superpower was seriously damaged in 2013 forcing sweeping changes within the JADCO.
In the aftermath of the doping scandals the JADCO has changed its board of directors, employed a new executive director and implemented a battery of recommendations proposed by WADA.
“Reedie will be apprised of the improvements in Jamaica’s efforts in the fight against doping,” JOA president Mike Fennell told Reuters. “He’ll also be provided with updates about the new anti-doping legislation passed last December, the JADCO’s educational program which has been rolled out and plans for drug testing in 2015.”
Coe, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with JAAA officials over as he prepares to run against fellow Olympic gold medalist Sergey Bubka to replace Lamine Diack as president of the IAAF.
Editing by Steve Keating.