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Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 12:08 UK

Jamaica drop Dunkley from squad

By Matt Slater

Asafa Powell celebrates his 100m win at the 2006 Commonwealths
Jamaican stars like Asafa Powell have enjoyed huge success in recent years

Jamaican Olympic chiefs have withdrawn Julien Dunkley from their Beijing team but have refused to confirm he is the athlete who failed a recent drugs test.

His name has been removed from a list of 53 athletes on the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) website.

This followed confirmation on Monday that a Jamaican Olympian - but "not a big name" - had tested positive.

JOA boss Mike Fennell said: "You can draw your own conclusions but I am not going to say anything further."

The positive test occurred at the national trials in Kingston on 27-29 June.

The 32-year-old Dunkley finished sixth in the men's 100m at the trials and was included in the six-man 4x100m relay squad as a result.

Speaking to BBC Sport on Monday, Fennell said: "It's not one of our big names but it is still a major blow for us and we take this very seriously.

"I have instructed that the athlete in question be withdrawn from the team. He will not compete at the Olympics."

The test was conducted by an anti-doping unit working in conjunction with world athletics' governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

We're really disappointed that somebody has gone down this path

Jamaican Olympic Association chief Mike Fennell
Fennell said he had received verbal confirmation of the positive test from the Monaco-based IAAF but was waiting to see it "in black and white" before he released a press statement to the local media.

He also said the athlete in question had been notified by fax.

"Every member of our team has been selected because of their performances on the track, so we're really disappointed that somebody has gone down this path," Fennell added.

The Caribbean island, which has a long and proud tradition of punching above its weight on the track, has emerged as an athletics superpower in recent years.

This season has already witnessed Usain Bolt take the world 100m record from compatriot Asafa Powell, and both men are expected to lead a potent Jamaican medal challenge when the Games begin in China on 8 August.

But the timing of this positive test will cause embarrassment in Jamaica as the country's anti-doping efforts have been under scrutiny for some time.

Despite repeated promises over the last five years, Jamaica still has not set up a fully operational anti-doping agency of its own. It has also opted out of the Caribbean regional anti-doping organisation which has been set up and championed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Dr Adrian Lorde, the head of the Caribbean body, told BBC Sport last month he was concerned the Jamaican authorities were not taking the problem of doping in sport seriously enough. He urged them to push on with efforts to set up their own agency.

In the meantime, the Jamaicans have been forced to rely on the IAAF to police their track stars.

It is perhaps ironic then that news of this test broke two days after the Jamaican senate finally passed the legislation needed to set up the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission.

During the debate last week, senator Don Wehby praised the country's athletes for their performances and rebuked "misguided and poorly informed commentators" who have criticised Jamaica for not doing enough in the fight against drugs in sport.

Fennell has also personally criticised Lorde for being "malicious and bad thinking".

see also
100m from glory
01 Jul 08 |  Athletics

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