Jamaica ponders anti-doping laboratory

Kingston, July 27 (IANS/CMC) The Jamaican government says it has not ruled out the possibility of establishing an internationally accredited anti-doping laboratory in the country.

Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita Headley, says setting up such an institution will require substantial capital investment and support from other countries.

The sports minister was addressing a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank which considered a laboratory to test athletes for all the substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned list, as well as supplements marketed to athletes.

"It is a matter as to whether or not Jamaica would be able to find that additional capital (and), to convince the rest of the world that we have all the requirements for them to send their tests to Jamaica," she said.

"Unless significant support is given to Jamaica as a location, to satisfy the needs of several countries, the country cannot sustain a laboratory of that nature. However, it is not something we have written off as impossible."

Doping in sports has become a hot topic here after five Jamaicans, including former 100m world-record holder Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 100m silver medallist, tested positive for banned substances.

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Warren Blake, says meeting the required international standards for the lab, would require major spending.

"The level of capital outlay is very deep. The laboratory should be able to test substances both known and unknown," Blake stressed.

"In order to buy the right spectrometers and put the right tests in place to detect unknown substances, you must be able to spend."

--IANS/CMC

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