SKNOC official says Tameka was 'clear' on why she was being sent home from London Olympics
- Published on Thursday, 02 August 2012 16:02
- Written by Toni Frederick
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St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A top official with the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC) says its investigations have concluded that a substance sprinter Tameka Williams admitted to taking, is prohibited.
Over the weekend Williams was withdrawn from the Olympic team, with the SKNOC issuing a statement that she had admitted using a substance which the body "considered to fall outside the internationally accepted Medical Code."
“The Olympic Committee once through its investigation had concluded that this substance would be classified as a prohibited substance, all things considered eventually got to that conclusion that the best action would be remove her from participation, to remove her from the team, and to send her home,” SKNOC Vice President Dennis “Freddie” Knight, said on WINN FM’s Voices programme on Thursday.
Addressing reports that Williams was not fully briefed by officials about why she was being withdrawn, Mr. Knight said that there had been meetings with the runner and she knew why she was being sent home from the London Games.
“In our minds we’re clear on the action we took, and Tameka is absolutely clear on the action that we took.”
The SKNOC Vice President, speaking to WINN FM from London, acknowledged that there was a delay between Williams’ admission that she was taking the substance and her being sent home.
He said they were still investigating the nature of the substance when the time came for the team to head to London, and the Committee made the decision to take Williams along.
“It is one of those cases…you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”
He said on one hand the SKNOC was being asked why they took her along if they knew they might have to send her back home, but had they not taken her they would also have come under fire.
“You have to make a judgment call, and our judgment call at the time was to take her along while we do the due diligence.”
Responding to a question from a caller to the programme, Mr. Knight denied any knowledge of Williams requesting a drug test, or her reportedly being 'locked away.'
Meantime, Dr. Reginald O’Loughlin with the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) explained Thursday, what constituted a doping violation.
“A doping violation also includes but not limited to admission of use of a prohibited substance, assisting in the procurement and use of a prohibited substance, trafficking in a prohibited substance and the like," he said, calling in to the Voices programme.
"That is a clear definition that is set down by the World Anti-Doping Association, and we here adopt all of the rules and the regulations as prescribed by WADA.”
Dr. O’Loughlin said all athletes were aware of rules. He declined however, to comment on whether he thought due process had been followed in Williams’ case, saying that that was a conversation for a later time.
The SKNOC has not revealed the substance that Ms Williams admitted to taking.
Her dismissal over the weekend sent shock waves through the nation. The news broke when a post appeared on her Facebook page in the early hours of Saturday morning. She said that she was being sent home due to false accusations, and that she was dismissed without being given a chance to take a drug test to prove her innocence. In her post, she denied ever taking illegal substances to enhance her performance.
The sprinter, who had qualified to compete in the women’s 100 and 200m races, has not spoken publically about the situation since returning home over the weekend. A source close to her told WINN FM Thursday that she could not speak to the press, as the matter was now a legal one.
Her coach Eric Francis has told WINN FM that he plans to sue the St. Kitts and Nevis National Olympic Committee.
Coach Francis said that they were seeking legal proceedings with respect to her expulsion from the Olympic team and the libelous and derogatory comments by members of the SKAAA and SKNOC indicating that Tameka was using performance enhancing drugs.
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