No action as minor drug traces found in 2008 Jamaican tests

BERLIN • Small amounts of the banned drug clenbuterol have been found in the re-testing of samples of Jamaican sprinters at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

A documentary by German broadcaster ARD claims the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the discovery late last year, but no action was taken as the levels detected were low.

ARD did not specify which Jamaican athletes' samples are affected from the Beijing Games, where superstar Usain Bolt won two individual gold medals, but said other athletes from other countries also failed retroactive testing.

Olivier Niggli, director-general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), said he accepted that the cases should not have been made public because of the levels involved.

"I am aware of the fact that there are Jamaican cases with very low levels of clenbuterol," he said. "If the amounts found are relatively low compared to direct intake of the substance, Wada accepts that such cases are not announced."

Jamaica originally won five golds in the sprint events at the 2008 Games but the 4x100m men's relay team had to return their golds in January after Nesta Carter retrospectively tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine.

According to ARD, the IOC has confirmed that "very low clenbuterol levels" had been detected in "several athletes from several countries and in several sports" in retroactive testing from samples taken at the 2008 Games.

All the values were in the range that can be caused by contaminated meat, the IOC said.

In June 2011, more than 100 footballers from 19 countries at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico tested positive for clenbuterol. But Fifa's tests found 30 per cent of the team hotels had meat contaminated by the drug and the organisation took no action against the players.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2017, with the headline 'No action as minor drug traces found in 2008 Jamaican tests'. Print Edition | Subscribe