IAAF: Jamaican case appears to be ‘lesser’ offense

Veronica Campbell-Brown, or “VCB” as she’s simply known in sprinting circles, tested positive for a banned diuretic at a meet in May and will serve a suspension while anti-doping officials rule on the positive drug test, island track officials announced Tuesday June 18, 2013.
AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file

LONDON (AP) — The doping case involving Jamaican sprint star Veronica Campbell-Brown appears to involve a “lesser” offense of unintentional use of a banned substance, the sport’s world governing body said Wednesday.

The reigning 200-meter world champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist was suspended by Jamaica’s national federation on Tuesday pending an investigation into a positive drug test.

Jamaican officials said Campbell-Brown, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion in the 200, tested positive for a banned diuretic at a meet on the island in May.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association said she was suspended from competition while a disciplinary panel reviews the case. The Jamaicans said the matter is being handled according to rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“It is up to our member federations to enforce our rules,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies told The Associated Press in a text message. “Although we would not normally comment on active cases (we) would simply remind media to keep (a) sense of perspective — all evidence seems to point to this offense being a lesser one.”

The sanction for a lesser offense can be a reduced penalty — a suspension of a few months to a year or a public warning — rather than a standard two-year ban.

Dr. Herb Elliott, chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, said the banned substance found in Campbell-Brown’s samples at the Jamaica International Invitational was a diuretic. He declined to provide the name of the substance.

Diuretics can be used to mask the use of banned substances.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, some diuretics are classified as a “specified substance,” a designation for drugs that might have been consumed without intent to enhance performance.

Athletes can receive a reduced sanction if they can prove how a substance was ingested.

In 2009, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and three other Jamaicans received reduced suspensions of three months after testing positive for a banned stimulant. Blake won the 100-meter world title in 2010 and finished second behind Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200 at last year’s London Olympics.

The 31-year-old Campbell-Brown has won seven Olympic medals in all.

Campbell-Brown’s manager, Claude Bryan, said the accusation came as a “shock to her” and the sprinter is determined to clear her name.

“Veronica is not a cheat, she has, via hard work and dedication, accomplished a record on the track which is absolutely remarkable,” Bryan said in a statement Tuesday.

He said Campbell-Brown does not accept “guilt of willfully taking a banned substance.”

In addition to her two individual Olympic titles, Campbell-Brown also won gold in the 4×100 relay at the 2004 Athens Games. In London, she won bronze in the 100 and silver as part of the 4×100 relay team.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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