Veronica Campbell cleared to make a return

| February 26, 2014
Archiman Bhaduri for CaribDirect

Staff Writer – Archi

Caribbean news. Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown had been cleared to return to the track by the world sports court some 10 months after testing positive at an island meet.

The athlete said the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) 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 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 harbour too much self-respect and a similar respect for the purity of competition to resort to illegal means to success,” said Campbell-Brown.

The 31-year-old athlete has won seven Olympic medals in all, including the 2004 and 2008 gold in the 200 metres. She 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.

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.

Veronica Campbell-Brown

Howard Jacobs, one of her lawyers, said the CAS hearing was done on an “extremely expedited basis”.

“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.

Jacobs said CAS also ordered the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association pay a portion of the athlete’s legal costs.

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.

Campbell-Brown intends to compete at the world indoor championships next month in Poland, according to Jacobs.

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