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Jamaica hits back at claims of lax dope controls

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has hit back at allegations of poor administration and a lack of controls by a former official, but conceded it had conducted less tests in recent years due to a lack of "resources".

Renee Anne Shirley, a former senior advisor to Jamaica's sports minister and briefly JADCO's executive director until earlier this year, wrote of "troubling" facts about JADCO's work in a critical article in Sports Illustrated this week.

Shirley said that between February 2012 and the start of the London Olympics in July, JADCO carried out just one out-of-competition test.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a statement on Thursday urging JADCO to respond "urgently and appropriately" to Shirley's comments, which have followed a string of positive doping tests returned by Jamaican athletes in recent months.

JADCO said its procedures and processes were "in keeping with international standards" in a statement issued on Thursday.

They had been reviewed by "... quasi-judicial bodies like the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and Jamaica Anti-Doping Appeals Tribunal, and judicial body outside of Jamaica, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which as recently as this year found them beyond reproof," JADCO said.

However, JADCO acknowledged a decline in tests in 2011-12 "largely due to the unavailability of resources to fund the Test Distribution Plan in its entirety."

The rash of positive doping tests, including some of the Caribbean nation's highest profile athletes, threw a cloud over preparations for August's world championships.

Former 100 meters world record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic relay silver medalist Sherone Simpson tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine at June's national championships and were left out of the Jamaican team for Moscow.

World 200 champion Veronica Campbell-Brown also missed out as she was provisionally suspended after failing a test for a banned diuretic in May.

JADCO said that there had been 71 out-of-competition tests in 2012 and 108 in competition, numbers matching Shirley's in her Sports Illustrated article, but did not directly address the period in the leadup to the London Games.

The authority said it had conducted a total of 876 tests, including 372 out of competition from May 2009 to July 2013, adding that WADA had visited in July last year and "expressed satisfaction" with its development under its new commissioners.

"JADCO will continue to collaborate with WADA to improve its systems, and is assured that Jamaican athletes face no threat of being barred from participation in the next Olympic Games or other international events," the statement added.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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