• Athletics

Media 'unfairly targeting' Jamaica's sprinters - Mills

ESPN staff
October 16, 2013
Bolt and Mills chat during a training session © Getty Images

Usain Bolt's coach, Glen Mills, believes Jamaica's athletes are being "unfairly targeted" by the world's media due to the country's dominance in sprinting.

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday it would be investigating claims that Jamaica's all-conquering sprint stars were not tested in the months leading up to the London 2012 Olympics.

But Mills, also coach to Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, says "sensationalising" coverage is giving his athletes an undeserved reputation.

"Nobody wants to see Jamaica continue its dominance of sprinting at the world level," Mills told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner. "One has to question the balance of their reporting. I have read some terrible articles written about Jamaica. I have read some terrible articles trying to insinuate that Usain Bolt's success is false because of all of this.

"They target Jamaica because of its success. There is no doubt about it."

Six Jamaican athletes, including former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown, have tested positive for banned substances. But Mills insisted that Jamaica's success was well-earned.

He added: "We have had some adverse analytical findings for stimulants and those other things, but there are so many cases of steroid use in other countries in the past couple of months, yet there is no sensationalising around those countries or athletes.

"Everyone is banging on the Jamaicans because of our success, and the truth of the matter is that our success has come through hard work, excellent coaches and making the best use of our facilities that are below world-class standards."

Mills also defended the under-fire Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission and claimed the country's government as well as the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association need to do more for their athletes.

"The Jamaican anti-doping programme is fairly new," he said. "Most countries performing at our level have been well advanced in their anti-doping programmes in terms of years of experience and expertise.

"The government is lagging behind; whether it is a financial reason or whatever, but they need to do a lot more. They could even set up a helpline where an athlete can call in and ask about a medication and receive advice if there is any danger or get it tested. It doesn't have to be a Jadco thing; this can come under the Ministry of Health, for instance.

"I also feel that the JAAA has not done a good job. Too often they have been silent and dormant, as if they are afraid to come out and defend Jamaica's image."

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