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‘The rules are clear!’ TTOC and NAAATT offer ‘support’ as Ahye faces Olympics ban

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said their attorneys are ‘carefully perusing’ the details of a two year ban on star sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye, as they weigh up a possible appeal to the decision by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Ahye, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, was penalised for failing to notify doping testers about her whereabouts as she missed three drug tests during a 12-month period between 2018 and 2019. Ahye was provisionally suspended on 30 August 2019 while the AIU said her ban is effective from 19 April 2019, which is the date of her last missed test.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye (right) crosses the finish line ahead of Jamaican sprinter Tatiana Williams to take the 100m Commonwealth Games title at the Gold Coast on 9 April 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

The decision rules Ahye out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Lewis described the ruling as ‘an unfortunate development’ but stressed that the rules regarding dope testing are clear.

“This is an unfortunate development [as] Michelle is a hardworking athlete in the prime of her career,” the TTOC president told Wired868. “That said, the rules are clear as they relate to athlete’s responsibilities and the consequences for failing to meet those obligations.

“We remain available to afford the support and guidance to our athletes when setbacks occur in their careers.”

National Amateur Athletics Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT) president Ephraim Serrette, who is abroad at present, mirrored the TTOC’s stance as he also made a statement on behalf of the local athletics body.

Photo: Michelle-Lee Ahye celebrates with the Trinidad and Tobago flag after her women’s 100m final triumph during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on 9 April 2018.
(Copyright Saeed Khan/AFP 2018/Wired868)

“This is a very unfortunate development for one of our top female athletes,” said Serrette. “She’s in the prime of her athletic career and is a hardworking individual. The rules as they are stated in respect to this matter are clear as it relates to the responsibility of the athlete as well as the consequences.

“As an Association we remain committed to partnering with the Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to provide support and guidance, more so when these sort of incidents occur.”

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