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WADA officials arrive in Jamaica for anti-doping audit

By Kayon Raynor

KINGSTON (Reuters) - Three high-ranking officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency have arrived in Jamaica to conduct their audit of the country's anti-doping programs after weeks of criticism following positive tests from several high-profile athletes.

WADA's director of education programs and development Rob Koehler, director of standard harmonization Rune Andersen and manager of program development Kerwin Clarke all arrived in Kingston from Canada on Monday.

They refused to answer any questions on arrival and were taken to a meeting with Jamaica's Anti-Doping Commission(JADCO).

They will examine JADCO's drug testing program, staffing, governance, education program, and current cases of adverse analytical findings against some of the country's athletes.

WADA had been invited to conduct an audit of the anti-doping program by the Jamaican government, but officials from the world governing body had expressed their anger at a delay in organizing the visit.

President John Fahey had suggested the Caribbean nation could face severe penalties if they were declared non-compliant with the WADA code, prompting JADCO to expedite the visit after several athletes tested positive for doping offences this year.

Former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell, twice 200 meters Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London Games 4x100 relay silver medalist Sherone Simpson all failed drug tests and were left out of Jamaica's athletics team for the world championships in August.

Campbell-Brown has since been censured for the positive test for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is on WADA's banned list as a masking agent, but escaped a ban.

Sources close to Jamaican athletics told Reuters at the time the banned drug was contained in a cream that Campbell-Brown was using to treat a leg injury and which she had declared on her doping control form.

The credibility of Jamaica's anti-doping work had been called into question by Renee Anne Shirley, a former senior official with JADCO, who told Sports Illustrated in August the authority had carried out just one out-of-competition test from February 2012 to the start of the London Olympics in July.

Athletics' world governing body, the IAAF has subsequently said that Jamaica's 19 athletes in their registered pool were on average the most tested for any country in the lead up to the London Games.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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