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TTOC: Every country holding its breath; expanded search will test 12 T&T medalists

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis confirmed that no athlete from the two island republic was among the 54 athletes from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Photo: (From left) Jamaica gold medalists Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, and Trinidad and Tobago bronze medalists Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson pose on the podium after the men’s 4x100 relay final at the the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London. The Trinidad and Tobago quartet are already due to receive silver, after the US team was disqualified due to a failed drug test by Tyson Gay. (Copyright Johannes Eisele/AFP 2016/Wired868)
Photo: (From left) Jamaica gold medalists Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, and Trinidad and Tobago bronze medalists Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson pose on the podium after the men’s 4×100 relay final at the the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London.
The Trinidad and Tobago quartet are due to receive silver, after the US team was disqualified due to a failed drug test by Tyson Gay.
(Copyright Johannes Eisele/AFP 2016/Wired868)

However, there will be a nervous wait as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed today that all medalists from the past two Olympics will have their blood and urine samples reanalysed by modern technology, which was not available at the time of either tournament.

“The IOC indicated today some of the measures they are taking,” Lewis told Wired868. “They are putting together a special committee to deal with this issue and they have restated their commitment to zero tolerance (on performance enhancing drugs).

“They have also indicated that they have expanded the testing they are doing in 2008 and 2012 and they will now be retesting all medalists. So I think we are far from a conclusion on all of this…

“Every country will essentially be holding their breaths until there is closure on this.”

The IOC’s vow means that javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, 100 metre sprinter Richard Thompson and 400 metre runner Lalonde Gordon will be among 12 Trinidad and Tobago athletes whose blood and urine samples will be scrutinised.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Keshorn Walcott (centre) shows off his gold medal at the London 2010 Olympics. Anthony N Sabga has joined the country's elite gold medal club for his deft finish in the artistic tendering event. (Copyright AFP 2016/Johannes Eisele)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott (centre) shows off his gold medal at the London 2010 Olympics.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Johannes Eisele)

However, Lewis said the local olympic body fully supports the IOC’s stance and insisted that it was good for sport.

“The IOC is obviously taking a very serious and determined approach to the issue of doping at the Olympic Games,” said the TTOC president. “I fully support the IOC’s approach on it. They need to do what they have to do and let the chips fall where they may.”

Already, the Jamaica Gleaner has reported that its own olympic body was informed of at least one failed drug test by a runner. The Jamaica Olympic Committee (JOC) denied this.

Is the IOC in danger of scoring an own goal by potentially lifting the lid on cheating champion athletes within two months of the Rio 2016 Olympics?

Lewis believes the disgracing of dirty athletes might be cathartic instead.

“It is not devaluing the games, it is a commitment to deal with the issue,” said Lewis. “They have been very transparent about it. They are going to be targeting people who are eligible to compete at the 2016 games.

Photo: TTOC president Brian Lewis (right) and NAAA president Ephraim Serrette. (Courtesy NAAA/LoopTT)
Photo: TTOC president Brian Lewis (right) and NAAA president Ephraim Serrette.
(Courtesy NAAA/LoopTT)

“Given the subterfuge by people hell bent on doping, the IOC must use whatever means they see as necessary to catch them. One cannot be naive; those who are bent on using PEDs use very novel approaches and WADA and everyone else is often playing catch up.

“So as (the IOC) come up with better and more effective methods, they are going to employ it.”

Lewis confirmed that the IOC contacted the olympic bodies of the 31 Beijing athletes who failed their initial drug test, even as they now await corroboration via the ‘B’ samples. Another 23 athletes from the London Olympics are in a similar position.

The TTOC has not been informed of any cheat within its ranks.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, to date, has not been informed (of any drug cheat by the IOC) and neither, as far as I am aware, has the NAAA,” said Lewis. “So at this point in time, we are not one of the 12 countries (who were represented by doping athletes)… But today, we received notification from the IOC that they intend to expand their program to include all medalists from 2008 and 2012.”

Once the scandal has passed, Lewis believes the Rio Olympics will benefit from the IOC’s stance.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's 4x400 metre World Championship team (from left) Machel Cedenio, Deon Lendore, Rene Quow and Lalonde Gordon. (Copyright AFP 2015/Olivier Morin)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×400 metre World Championship team (from left) Machel Cedenio, Deon Lendore, Rene Quow and Lalonde Gordon.
(Copyright AFP 2015/Olivier Morin)

“I think it is the right time,” said the TTOC president, “because, for those who may have been on some kind of program, there is now a very real possibility that they will eventually be caught.

“So this levels the playing field.”

(Trinidad and Tobago medalists at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics)

Gold: Keshorn Walcott (Javelin/20012);

Silver: Richard Thomson (100 metres/2008); Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson, Aaron Armstrong (4×100 metres/2008); Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson (4×100 metres/2012);

Bronze: Lalonde Gordon (400 metres/2012); Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, Deon Lendore, Machel Cedenio, Ade Aleyne-Forte (4×400 metres/2012).

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Government feted gold medalist Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Government feted gold medalist Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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52 comments

  1. I hope they make sure and check well the numerous American athletes, that is one country who never admits their faults in any thing, especially sport, unless they are made to. Look at Lance Armstrong.

  2. Same. Here. I. Hope. That. Our. People. are. Safe

  3. Umm i heard that the substance Nesta tested positive gor was banned in 2010. So in 2008, when he was tested, he did not take a banned substance.

  4. I too would like to know about Phelps

  5. The Caribbean is coming so let us test them all All these upstarts beating the USA and European athletes.

  6. As soon as the Americans were tested positive they want to retest all. Why didn’t they test Flo jo and micheal Johnson. I would love to know about Phelps, why didn’t they erase his records after they banned his special swim wear. So many questions. I know they want the Jamaicans bad, bolt better move around with his own security, cooks and trusted team because they will plot against him.

  7. Ah wonder if dem Trini athletes good tuh go boi…hmmm…ring ring…look mudda cornhusk calling meh….we go fix dat…lolol

  8. Please remove this photo of Keshorn from this headline……. WTH

  9. Hope they test all their US athletes with the same eagerness

  10. Hv confidence ppl of TT , our athletes are clean . Our drug is steelpan n calypso , tassa n chutney , roti n doubles , crab n callaloo …. all wth a white solo or Carib (optional) … believe in them …

  11. Hope so! Finger,t
    oes real cross!

  12. Damn. I hope after Kelly Ann’s situation that we’ve learned to be honest and not allow the bright lights and the need to win mar what used to be clean competition. Am wondering why take so long to do these additional tests.

  13. Want to see them check Flo Jo. Lol.

  14. Our own tests are coming. Fingers crossed that every one of our athletes are cleared!

  15. Ah, yes. The ultimate test of the TTOC to date (for me at least).
    First, the Thema Fiasco, THEN the TTGF Fallacy, then THIS!
    Who shall stand?
    Who shall fall?

  16. What will they do if they find drugs in the system of major athletes from so far back, are they going to ask them to return their medals? Steupssss.

  17. Wait….do they keep samples of olympians from previous years?

  18. I’m not sure i see the point of expanding the search further back, Is it going to help the image of the sport?, I dont think so, will it bring any sense of justification or joy to the other athletes? maybe a little but that time is long past and nobody cares anymore. I say let sleeping dogs lie and lets move forward stronger and avoid repeating the past