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Jamaica Considers Team Appeal Against Beijing 2008 Relay Disqualification

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amaica's Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Usain Bolt and Michael Frater celebrating after winning the men's 4×100m Relay final at the National Stadium in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP/William West

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Warren Blake claims to be “surprised” by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to strip the country’s 4×100 meter relay team of their gold medal from Beijing 2008 after Nesta Carter failed a drugs test.

The sprinter, who ran the first leg for a team also including Michael Frater, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell in the Chinese capital, failed for banned energy boosting substance methylhexaneamine following re-analysis of frozen samples.

Carter’s lawyer Stuart Simpson has told Reuters that he plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport following the decision to disqualify him.

Further disciplinary action will be considered by the international Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) once this appeal process is completed.

Blake, who yesterday met with Carter along with Jamaica Olympic Association President Mike Fennell, admitted the stripping of the medal was a surprise but claimed it would not harm the reputation of the Caribbean island.

“I have learnt to expect everything,” he told the Jamaican Gleaner.

“I did not rule out that he would be found guilty, but my personal opinion is that I am surprised that they chose that route.

“This is something that happened from 2008, so I don’t think it will have an effect on Jamaica’s reputation going forward.

“We have done everything that was asked of us in sorting out the issues that they claimed was at JADCO.”

Fennell, however, has appeared to indicate that the team could launch a separate appeal against the loss of a relay medal.

“We have to decide what the best legal process is,” he told the BBC.

“It is a team and we are interested in ensuring they are properly protected and given a fair chance of clearing their names.”

Methylhexaneamine was only added by name to the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list in 2010, although it was indirectly outlawed as an “unspecified stimulant” before then.

Five Jamaican sprinters received suspensions of between three and six months in 2009.

But IOC rules clearly dictate that the entire relay team forfeit medals when one member fails a drugs test,

Trinidad and Tobago stand to receive gold if the disqualification does go ahead, although they have not yet received any official confirmation.

There is no automatic process where the medals are re-determined, and there have been instances where no replacement medal has been awarded.

There was no gold was awarded in the women’s 100m at Sydney 2000, for instance, following the disqualification of US sprinter Marion Jones in 2007.

Greece’s silver medalist Ekaterini Thanou was not promoted because she had subsequently become embroiled in a doping scandal in the run-up to Athens 2004.

Jamaican duo Tayna Lawrence and Merlene Ottey were, however, promoted to silver and bronze medals.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has not at this time received any official communication from the IOC in respect of the Trinidad and Tobago Beijing 2008 Olympic Games men’s 4x100m relay team,” said the body’s President Brian Lewis in a statement.

“It is therefore premature of the TTOC to speculate on any upgrading from silver to gold – the IOC has its protocols and procedures in respect of medal upgrades.

“As such, we have taken note of the IOC Disciplinary Commission Decision and official press release.

“The TTOC will fully cooperate with the IOC and look forward to a quick resolution.

“It is always a disappointing and an unfortunate situation when an athlete from any country is embroiled in such a situation and, more so a Caribbean athlete.”

Japan would be promoted to silver if the medals were adjusted while Brazil would take bronze.

Trinidad and Tobago have already been officially promoted from bronze to silver in the London 2012 4x100m relay after the United States were disqualified after team member Tyson Gay failed for anabolic steroids.

Jamaica do not, however, appear to be in any danger of losing the gold medal they won in that event.

Carter also formed part of the gold medal winning team in London, but it is thought that retests of his sample there has come back negative.

The 31-year-old was also a member of the 4x100m team which won gold medals at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Moscow and Beijing respectively.

It is thought that there is no chance of Jamaica being stripped of these gold medals unless retests from samples taken at those specific events come back positive.

By Nick Butler

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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