Russia handed four-year ban from international events by WADA

By Sports Desk December 09, 2019

Russia has been banned from international sporting events for four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the 2022 World Cup is also in jeopardy.

A WADA panel last month recommended the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be declared non-compliant again over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

WADA's independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) recommended strong sanctions be imposed on Russia, including a four-year ban from competing in and hosting major sporting events.

On Monday, the body's Executive Committee unanimously agreed with the recommendation at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020.

Stanislav Cherchesov's side have qualified for the finals, where St Petersburg is one of the host cities.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

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  • Forging a tradition of greatness - Veronica Campbell-Brown Forging a tradition of greatness - Veronica Campbell-Brown

    The 2004 Athens Olympics was my second watching on television but my first really understanding the stories behind the athletes who were representing my country.

    Like the athletes had worked for four years, so had I in trying to understand the ins and outs of the sport.

    I was only 14 years old, so there was still a lot to learn but I had by then learnt very well the name Veronica Campbell.

    By this time the precocious talent from Clarke’s Town in Trelawny had already won the IAAF World Youth 100 metres title in 1999 and the IAAF World Under-20 sprint double in 2000.

    Those achievements were sandwiched by a silver medal as part of Jamaica’s sprint relay team at the Sydney Olympics when she was only 18 years old.

    Injuries in 2001 and 2003 delayed her senior World Championship debut but between that, she won a silver medal over 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester England in 2002.

    The warning signs get louder

    As early as the indoor season of 2004 Veronica served warnings she would be a major force on the global scene even with a potentially long collegiate season for the University of Arkansas in prospect. 

    She won the NCAA Indoor title over 200 metres, speeding to 22.43 seconds, and sending a strong signal to her competitors.

    After a string of quality performances indoors and out, the former Barton County Community College athlete chose to forego the NCAA Outdoor Division One Championships to focus on her Olympic quest.

    It was a master move by Campbell and her team as she took the professional route.    

    I remember a particular race at the Weltklasse Golden League in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a stacked 100 metres field with Veronica Campbell among the principals.

    Before the race, renowned commentator Stuart Storey said he thought the new Jamaican star could “win the Olympic title”.

    Campbell finished fourth on that day, beaten by France’s Christine Aaron, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas and her Jamaican compatriot Aleen Bailey.

    Storey then explained that Veronica was much better at 200 metres and that is where he favoured her for Olympic Gold.

    He was right.

    Around my community I listened to pot covers beating, doors and walls knocking, jumping as Veronica became the first Caribbean woman to win either a 100 or 200 Gold at the Olympic Games.

    I have watched that race dozens of times since, whether it be to the stunning Caribbean voice that is Lance Whittaker or NBC’s Carol Lewis exclaiming Veronica’s devastating curve running.

    For Jamaicans, the moment was massive.

    The cycle of Jamaicans like Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson and Juliet Cuthbert playing second fiddle to American and European sprinters had been broken.

    The Caribbean, Jamaica had its Golden queen.

    She also anchored the sprint relay team to Gold which meant she was involved in three of Jamaica’s five medals, having taken bronze in the 100 metres.

    With the subsequent success that Jamaica has had, led by the legendary Usain Bolt and including women like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson or the unforgettable work done by Merlene Ottey before them, it might be easy, especially for the new generation of athletics fans to miss the tremendous contribution of Veronica.

    But she is truly among the greatest we have ever seen.

    Will to excel on show

    Her 2008 successful Olympic title defence was special, but it was her performance at the Jamaican Championships that year that will forever be etched in my mind.

    Now bearing the name Campbell-Brown after her marriage to fellow Jamaican sprinter Omar Brown, she entered the Jamaican Olympic trials as the favourite for the sprint double but the world was shaken when she only placed fourth in the 100 metres despite a super-fast 10.88-second clocking.

    A day later, she had to return for the 200 metres. Her Olympic aspirations hinged on that one race.

    She also had to take on the three women who beat her in the 100: Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Sherone Simpson.

    She did more than take them on, she beat them convincingly, clocking, still the fastest ever 200 time on Jamaican soil, 21.94 seconds.

    Maybe that singular focus helped her to defend her title in Beijing and become only the second woman to defend the Olympic half-lap title.

    As it stands, we will never know.

    What we do know is that she produced another scintillating curve run and took Gold in a lifetime best, 21.74 seconds.

    Veronica Campbell-Brown or VCB as she is now affectionately called has won eight global titles across World Championships, indoors and out and the Olympic Games.

    She has a further 10 silver and 3 bronze medals, not counting her multiple global medals at the Youth and Junior levels.

    She has always had a shy demeanour, but her desire to be the best has never been in question.

    Outside of that tremendous run at the Jamaican Championship in 2008, VCB’s last global individual medal is also one that sticks to the memory.

    In 2015 she was having a less-than-impressive year by her lofty standards.

    She placed fourth in the 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

    In the 200 metres, she squeezed into the final as a fastest loser, almost labouring to 22.47 seconds.

    It was only the sixth-fastest going into the championship race but importantly, her fastest time since the London 2012 Olympics.

    After that semi-final, it felt as if Veronica had long past her best or anywhere close to it.

    One last great run

    But she had, what one might describe as one last great run, and on that night in Beijing she produced it.

    From lane two, she powered around the bend like the Veronica of old. Her knocked knees, a glorious reminder of her greatest days.

    The curve was vintage VCB as she inched clear of favourites Daphne Schippers of the Netherlands and Elaine Thompson, who was at the time Jamaica’s newest female sprinting sensation.

    The old Veronica might have taken them to the line and snatched Gold, but not on that night in Beijing.

    She could no longer hold her speed through 200 metres but still, it was one of her great runs as she crossed the line third in 21.97 seconds.

    It was the first time she had broken 22 seconds since the 2010 season and she hasn’t done it since, more sharp reminders of what a miracle run it was.

    It might do an injustice to her amazing legacy to speak much about her injury-plagued years beyond 2015.

    In any case, there might be more to come as she hopes to qualify for a sixth Olympics come the rescheduled Games in Tokyo 2021.

    But if Veronica never steps foot on a track again, her legacy will be sealed.

    When she defended her Olympic title in 2008, a local TV reporter, Damion Gordon wrote, “Like wine to a party, Veronica Campbell-Brown is synonymous with athletics greatness.”

    That, my friend, is how VCB should be remembered and spoken of – because she is now and always will be athletics greatness.

     

    Ricardo Chambers has done Commentary on international track and field, cricket and Netball since 2010. He has also done local football commentary. For feedback you can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • JOA lauds ANOC decision to financially support Olympic committees JOA lauds ANOC decision to financially support Olympic committees

    The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has come out in support of the decision of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) to provide additional funding to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in facilitating their preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games that were postponed to next year because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

    Two hundred and six national Olympic committees worldwide stand to benefit from the initiative that is expected to be managed through the five Continental Associations and ANOC, with the assistance of Olympic Solidarity.

    ANOC has assured National Olympic Committees that it stands in solidarity with them in recognising the adverse financial implications triggered by the pandemic, and in safeguarding the welfare of athletes and all stakeholders.

     "It is a decision that signals empathetic understanding. It is a confidence vote in the ability and capacity of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to repurpose plans, goals and objectives. But more importantly, it is an act of humanity and integrity and a demonstration of the Olympic spirit," said JOA President Christopher Samuda.

    The decision was made in the wake of a conference involving ANOC President, Robin Mitchell, ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg, ANOC executives and Olympic Solidarity Director James MacLeod, and will provide support on a case-by-case basis to be determined by governing criteria.

    "This is sport responding dynamically and in a practical way without self-serving interests but with sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of stakeholders who are facing the challenges of the current times but who, despite the crisis, have the conviction to stay in the game, to play the game and to transform the game for this and the next generations of sportsmen and sportswomen," Samuda said.

  • Ex-Warriors star Bogut open to NBA return after Kings exit Ex-Warriors star Bogut open to NBA return after Kings exit

    Former Golden State Warriors star Andrew Bogut said he is open to returning to the NBA as "I've got a little bit of fuel left in the tank" ahead of the Olympic Games.

    Bogut is a free agent after opting to quit NBL franchise the Sydney Kings last month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The 35-year-old Australian – who won an NBA title with the Warriors in 2015 – had been planning to retire following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have been pushed back due to COVID-19.

    Bogut returned to the Warriors to play the remainder of the 2018-19 season while contracted to the Kings and the NBA's former number one pick is pondering another stint in the United States.

    "I had NBA offers right before the COVID-19 pandemic, where I was potentially going to go back after the NBL season. I was talking to a few teams that wanted me to come over," Bogut, who was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the top pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, told SBS Sport.

    "Yes [I would consider another NBA stint], especially halfway through the season when the buyout and trade season comes up.

    "It saves me having to spend the whole season over there and I can kind of join someone late, like I did with the Warriors last time.

    "[I] can try to make a play-off run and then let that phase into the Olympics. I still think I've got a little bit of fuel left in the tank."

    Former Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers centre Bogut returned to Australia with the Kings in 2018.

    Bogut was named the NBL's MVP in his first season, while he helped the Kings reach the Grand Final this year, though the Perth Wildcats were crowned champions after the series was cut short due to coronavirus.

    "There are just too many unknowns right now. Not just in the basketball community but around the world," Bogut said as he discussed his Kings departure.

    "I wasn't going to commit to something half-assed and not know what's in the other end. I thought it was best to hit pause for now and reassess around about the new year, rather than me sitting here with one foot in, one foot out and the club not knowing where I'm at, so they can't act accordingly with recruiting, signing and the salary cap.

    "I didn't want to have that pressure of every week having to call and say 'I don't know yet'. I think in fairness to the club, it's the best thing for the Kings to be able to make decisions they need to make without worrying about me at the other end."

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