KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Decorated Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown says she has been cleared to return to the track by the world sports court some 10 months after returning a positive test at an island meet.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has “confirmed my innocence” and she intends to focus on advancing her career, including regaining her world 200-meter title next year, Campbell-Brown said in a Monday statement.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist said the last several months have brought much “pain and suffering,” including “insensitive and ill-informed media remarks,” but her religious faith, family, friends and fans helped her cope.
“I harbor too much self-respect and a similar respect for the purity of competition to resort to illegal means to success,” said Campbell-Brown, who has been one of the cornerstones of Jamaica’s remarkable sprinting success for a decade.
The 31-year-old athlete has won seven Olympic medals in all, including the 2004 and 2008 gold in the 200 meters. She also won gold in the 4x100 relay at the 2004 Athens Games. In London, she won bronze in the 100 and silver as part of the 4x100 relay team.
She returned a positive test for a banned diuretic from the Jamaica International Invitational in May. In June, her manager issued a statement saying she was determined to clear her name. She apologized to her fans, sponsors and others for any embarrassment or hurt the “devastating news has caused.” She was suspended while a disciplinary panel reviewed the case and missed the Jamaican nationals and world championships in Moscow.
Howard Jacobs, one of her lawyers, said the CAS hearing was done on an “extremely expedited basis” and they were yet to receive the full ruling.
“However, it is clear that the reason for the decision was a serious and fundamental breakdown in the manner in which (her) urine sample was collected and handled in Jamaica on May 4, 2013, such that the integrity of the sample was not maintained and the results of any testing on that sample were therefore unreliable,” the California-based sports lawyer said by email on Monday.
Jacobs said CAS ordered the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association pay a portion of the athlete’s legal costs. The JAAA did not immediately return calls for comment.
In October, a Jamaican disciplinary panel recommended a public reprimand without any period of ineligibility. Earlier, a spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations said the case appeared to involve a “lesser” offense of unintentional use of a banned substance.
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. Campbell-Brown tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.
A few weeks after Campbell-Brown’s positive test made headlines, Jamaican sprinting stars Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson also tested positive for a banned stimulant. A Jamaican disciplinary panel has not concluded hearings into their cases.
In 2009, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and three other islanders received reduced suspensions of three months after testing positive for a banned stimulant.
Campbell-Brown intends to compete at the world indoor championships next month in Poland, according to Jacobs.