Jamaica appoints new drug testing chief

Kingston (Jamaica), Oct 17 (IANS/CMC) A new executive director is to be appointed to the embattled Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, (JADCO) nearly nine months since the last permanent holder of the post was fired.

Sports minister Natalie Neita-Headley has confirmed that the position, which was occupied between May and mid-August 2013 by four-time Olympian Cathy Rattray Samuel, has been filled, reports CMC.

JADCO has come under increased scrutiny in recent months following a string of positive doping tests by Jamaican athletes.

"I have been advised by the board of commissioners that they have reached the point of selection. They seem to have done all the due diligence and are comfortable with the gentleman who they have selected," the minister said, without revealing a name.

"It's someone who has strong administrative and managerial skills, and that's really what we need now to be able to pull JADCO together and push it forward."

A series of damaging articles published locally and internationally by the former executive director, Renee Anne Shirley, has exposed weaknesses within the commission's testing programme.

Reports this week suggest that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is to conduct an "extraordinary" audit of Jamaica's testing of its athletes between February and July 2012 when the commission failed to conduct out-of-competition tests leading up to the London Olympics.

There has been increased international scrutiny of Jamaica's drug testing programme triggered by eight positive doping tests since the start of the year.

These include Olympians Veronica Campbell Brown, Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, Traves Smikle, Allison Randall, and martial artist Kenneth Edwards.

--IANS/CMC

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