Strife and lingering problems

South Africa Suffers Administrative Conflicts

This morning we start with some international news coming from the Athletics South Africa (ASA) organization. Former President of ASA James Evans accused “his opponents of reneging on a peace deal brokered by the IAAF.” Background: the conflict began last November, when then-president Evans suspended “members of five provincial boards shortly before the ASA general meeting.” Their suspension caused the suspended members to take legal action, so they filed a lawsuit against Evans in Johannesburg. The court proceeding was to take place at the end of March. The warring parties continued until senior IAAF official Cheikh Thiare ended the conflict last month by appointing an ad hoc committee until the election in May. The new committee would end the need for a court date, and the ASA interim executive was to withdraw the complaints against Evans.

However, Evans maintained that one court action is still pending, which he believes “is in contravention of the IAAF deal.” There are doubts about which party caused the problem. Some comments suggest Evans bears responsibility, as he “delayed the notice of withdrawal being filed in court” and that an agreement was reached by both parties that each party would pay their own costs. Evans disagreed, and argued that there was no such agreement, and threatened sanctions against the attorney should he submit the withdrawal which included that language. If the parties cannot agree, then the parties will have to come before the IAAF again, which may result in a reinstatement of Evan’s original board.

JADCO Problems Persist

Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown’s recent reinstatement to compete on a professional level reveals the problems Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) face within its organization. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) analyzed Campbell-Brown’s case expediently, as it determined that JADCO’s process “was so botched” that a lengthy proceeding was unnecessary. CAS quickly ordered that Campbell-Brown was to return to the sport “immediately,” and that IAAF must pay “12,000 Swiss Francs to assist with her legal fees.”

CAS’ revelation gives some insight as to the ineffectiveness of JADCO’s ability to test athletes appropriately. Its failure to adhere to the rules and regulations surrounding the procedures in testing for doping substances illustrates how underachieving its process is. On top of that, it is quite possible that other athletes are sitting out of competition simply due to the substantially flawed process – athletes who likely may not have engaged in doping, but are simply casualties of a fractured process. Campbell-Brown had the resources to retain high-profile lawyers to protect her rights, but her situation is unusual; most athletes do not have access to those resources. But if the problems JADCO has are as conspicuous as CAS found, perhaps any representation would suffice.

In doping news, we learn that Canadian wheelchair racer Jean-Paul Compaore cannot stop himself from doping; a doping test recently revealed Erythropoietin (EPO) in his urine sample. His sample dates back to July 20 of last year, and it represents his second positive test. His first positive test happened in 2011, where he served a two-month suspension. Typically, the International Paralympic Committee (like most national committees) comes down harder on athletes who suffer multiple positive tests. Comparoe’s positive test cost him a five-year suspension which dates back to July 20 of last year and a €1,500 fine. All of Compaore’s competitions since July 20 are automatically nullified. Therefore, Comparoe forfeits his World Championship bronze  garnered at the 2014 Athletics World Championships, and the medal will be given to countryman Josh Cassidy, who finished fourth.

From the Sochi Games, we learn more about failing doping tests: Polish bobsledder Daniel Zalewski’s positive drug test makes him the “seventh athlete to fail a drugs test during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.” The Polish Olympic Committee (PKOI) learned from the International Olympic Committee that Zalewski’s “A’ and B’ samples both showed traces of the banned stimulant phenethylamine.” Although PKOI is appealing the decision, the article suggests that the Polish team’s results will be removed. The six athletes that failed drug tests before Zalewski include the following: “German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle was the first…followed by Italian bobsledder Frullani, Ukrainian cross-country skier Marina Lisogor, Latvian ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs and Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr.”

If you wear a FitBit wristband, you should probably stop doing so and return it immediately. Fitbit Inc. announced last Wednesday that the activity-tracking wristband contains a risk of skin irritation. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warned users by making the following announcement: “Users can develop allergic reactions to the stainless steel casing, materials used in the strap, or adhesives used to assemble the product, resulting in redness, rashes or blistering where the skin has been in contact with the tracker.” Consumers may call 888-656-6381 for a full refund, or visit www.fitbit.com for more information.

Quatar is concerned that no sponsors or companies have stepped forward to support the sole Diamond League competition in the Middle East, despite having some world-class athletes in its country. Finally, congratulations to those who competed in the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championship this past weekend, as well as to the winners – the Men’s and Women’s teams from TrackTown USA (Eugene, Oregon).

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