The Globe carries a story documenting the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) hard come down on Jamaica during the past year's dope testing.
The little Caribbean nation was listed yesterday as one of the five most tested nations in IAAF figures for out-of-competition testing released yesterday by the federation's head office in Monte Carlo.
Jamaican athletes, led by the world-record 100- and 200-metre times of sprinter Usain Bolt, dominated the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with 11 medals — six of them gold — in distances of a lap of less. Bolt, who set or shared in four world records last season and won a series of races in Europe, was one of the most tested athletes in the world.
More on dope testing Jamaican athletes after the jump...
Obviously the IAAF targets Jamaica, apparently in part because of the phenomenal success of the Island's track program.
When confronted with skepticism over Jamaica's dominance in sprints, team officials, particularly team doctor Herb Elliott, said adamantly the upsurge was not a product of doping and chalked it up to other factors. Elliott, a member of the IAAF anti-doping commission, said the Jamaican government is investing money in Jamaican college sport programs so that fewer athletes are lured by U.S. scholarship offers and becoming burnt out by running too many meets for U.S. schools.
There also is a history of fast sprinters from Jamaica — Ben Johnson, Linford Christie and Donovan Bailey all are Jamaican born and all, at least briefly, could lay claim to Olympic titles. There is a strong competitive youth program, culminating in the school boys and girls championships. Because of the compact nature of the island, the best meet and push one another frequently. Poverty even has an upside in the development of young athletes at home, he said, because most athletes grow up training on grass tracks rather than more sophisticated surfaces of hard rubber on asphalt. They're less likely to have impact injuries on ankle and knee joints.
Jamaica was included in the top five tested nations for the 2008 Olympic season, along with four expected names — Russia, Belarus, the United States and China.
How many of the Jamaican sprinters tested positive for doping? And how many were doped in other countries (Johnson:Canada; Christie: the UK)? The IAAF has begun targeting competitors for the 2009 World Games. However the question remains: Is Jamaica unfairly targeted for doping control?
IAAF President Lamine Diack said attention has already shifted to nations participating in this summer's 2009 world championships in Berlin.
"We know the cheats do not rest, so neither should we," he said.
"Our doping control program for Berlin will the biggest yet put in place by the IAAF. We will have increased intelligent testing in the out-of-competition period leading up to the championships, better testing during the championships itself, and will store samples after the event for future analysis."
During the competition itself, the IAAF plans over 1,000 blood and urine doping controls, an increase on the 700 tests conducted on track and field competitors during the Beijing Olympic Games. The IAAF will also begin implementing Biological Passports (both blood and urine) ahead of the worlds in August.
In 2008, the IAAF carried out a total of 3,4887 anti-doping tests, including scans for the blood booster EPO, with over half (1,823) taking place out of competition. These figures do not include tests conducted by the International Olympic Committee at, or before, the Beijing Games.