• Athletics

Bolt: Jamaica doping row costing me money

ESPN staff
November 16, 2013
Usain Bolt was crowned World Athlete of the Year in Monaco © AP

Usain Bolt has called for an end to the doping row surrounding Jamaica's athletes after revealing the controversial claims have cost him a money-spinning sponsorship deal.

Six-time Olympic champion Bolt refused to name the would-be-sponsor but says they backed out on an endorsement deal over media reports that he could be ineligible to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey had claimed that Jamaica could face expulsion from Rio if they did not bring their anti-doping programme up to international standards.

A former chief of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission recently claimed the organisation had carried out just a single out-of-competition test in the six months leading up to London 2012, while a current senior drug tester at JADCO said this week he feared the recent spate of positive tests from its athletes were just "the tip of the iceberg".

Fahey's threat has since receded after Jamaica agreed to work together with the United States Anti-Doping Agency following what was claimed to be an "extraordinary" audit of their drug-testing programme, but Bolt has revealed he is still suffering as a result.

"A sponsor came up to us and was saying, 'We'd like to sponsor you'. They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it's viable to sponsor you and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics," said Bolt.

"That information is not correct, so there are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it's causing problems for me when it comes to making money from my sport.

"We really need to get this out of the way and move past this, get the rules down, get everything straight and get it down fast because we need to move on.

"In every sport there are drug scandals and problems but people get it done and move past it. That's what we have to do because it's really costing me money now, and I'm not too happy about that."

Bolt has been backed by IAAF president Lamine Diack, who accused WADA of waging a "ridiculous" campaign against Jamaica.

Jamaican had something to celebrate on Saturday though with Bolt and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce being crowned World Athletes of the Year by the IAAF in Monte Carlo. Mo Farah missed out on the top award after being name on the three-man shortlist.

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