The Court of Arbitration for Sport has thrown out the appeal of Grenadian quarter-miler Bralon Taplin’s against a four-year ban for intentionally avoiding a drug test in April 2019. The athlete will now serve a ban set to end in September 2023, when he will be 32 years old.

Taplin, 28, who was seventh in the 400m final in Rio, four years ago, was sanctioned by the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization in November 2019 for avoiding a drugs test.

The sanction stemmed from an incident at the Grenada Invitational on April 13, 2019, when Taplin won the 400m at the Grenada Invitational.

Following the race, Taplin left the stadium without completing doping control even doping control officers had informed him that he was to undergo a drug test. Reports said he left the island early the following day.

According to a summary released by the CAS, Taplin was notified on August 20, 2019, that he was being charged with intentionally evading sample collection on at the 2019 Grenada Invitational.

Following an investigation, the Caribbean RADO Panel issued its decision on November 8, 2019, in which it found, “to its comfortable satisfaction”, that Taplin sought to evade the chaperone and doping control officers and that he was guilty of the offence of evading sample collection.

He was banned for four years.

However, in his appeal to the CAS, Taplin requested that the decision be set aside and that he be declared immediately eligible to compete on the grounds that he had not been properly notified that he had been selected for the doping control test.

The CAS arbitration was conducted by Canadian The Honourable Hugh L. Fraser, who held the hearing at the offices of the Grenada Olympic Committee on February 27 and 28, 2020.

The sole arbitrator found that Taplin’s evidence that he was never approached, followed, or accompanied by anyone from the Grenada NADO to be implausible.

The arbitrator stated that he was comfortably satisfied that Taplin was guilty of the offence of evading sample collection and confirmed the four-year period of ineligibility, which commenced on September 25, 2019, the date on which the provisional suspension began.

 

Anderson Peters, the 2019 World Champion in the javelin, believes that in winning the world title in Doha in 2019, could inspire children in his home country of Grenada by showing them that they do not have to be sprinters to succeed in the sport.

Grenadian Olympic gold medallist Kirani James admits to being uneasy over the uncertainly surrounding the rest of the track and field season but does not believe he will be severely impacted by the cancellation of the Olympic Games this year.

After months of deliberation and some amount of hesitance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Games would be pushed forward by a year, as the world struggles to come to grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

For thousands of athletes around the world, the news would come as a hammer blow with months of preparation upended and a year added to a chance to shine at athletics signature events.  For some, already struggling to make a final appearance due to aging, aching limbs it was even a tougher pill to swallow.  The 27-year-old James, who is already a World and Olympic champions, does not fall into that category. 

“I don’t think so (Impacts chance of medaling at next Olympics), at least not right now. It is what it is,” the former University of Alabama sprinter told TideSports.

“It’s not the fault of anything we can control. We just take it as what it is and try our best to prepare. That’s the decision they came to and we have to accept it. We have to prepare as best as we can.”

Like the majority, he believes it was a necessary evil.   

“The way I see it is, for them to postpone it, they’re taking this pandemic very seriously and I’m sure if there was a way where they could keep it for this year, they would have.  Obviously, they exhausted all their options. It is what it is. At the end of the day, safety and health trumps the Olympics every time,” he added.

James won the 400m gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, after claiming gold at the World Championships one year prior.  The sprinter then went on to claim silver behind world-record breaker Wayde van Niekerk at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  James saw his career severely hampered after being diagnosed with Graves' disease.  He has since recovered and was confident things were progressing well for Tokyo before the delays.

“Training was good. It was very consistent, the workouts and everything.  Really it was just gearing up for the start of the season in April. Everything was on track.”

Concerns regarding the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus has led to the postponement of the 2020 Grenada Invitational, organisers said in a statement today.

A world-class cast of athletes including double-Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah, world-champion Anderson Peters and fast-rising teen star Briana Williams, have been confirmed for the 2020 edition of the Grenada Invitational that was launched on Wednesday at the Radisson Beach Resort, St. George’s.

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave has insisted the board will look to continue its objective of spreading the sport across regional venues.

Insularity and some amount of bias have often been charges leveled at those who select which grounds will be picked to host international cricket on various West Indies tours.  International grounds in bigger countries have often been given the nod but Graves insists it might not be the case in the future.

“The highest crowds we experienced in this series was in Grenada.  Grenada didn’t have cricket between 2015 and 2019 and I think it is important we spread cricket around our international grounds,” Graves said.

“I think we need to do far more as an organization to promote and market to make sure all the cricket fans and even the non-cricket fans know that the West Indies team is coming to their country to play,” he added.

“I hope everyone understands that policy and we do our best to spread cricket around the region.”

With the exception of Barbados the West Indies' first tour of the new year, against Ireland, was played in Grenada and St Kitts.  The New Zealand New Zealand tour in July will be hosted in Antigua, Dominica, and Guyana, with Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Jamaica.

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