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Beleaguered Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission hit by resignations

November 23, 2013 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Former world-record holder Asafa Powell was one of the Jamaican sprinters who failed a drug test this year.
Former world-record holder Asafa Powell was one of the Jamaican sprinters who failed a drug test this year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The entire board of the under-fire Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission resigns
  • The resignations come after several sprinters failed drug tests this year
  • Those caught included the high-profile pair of Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell
  • A former head of the commission said few drug tests were carried out in early 2012

(CNN) -- The board of Jamaica's Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) resigned after several of the Caribbean nation's sprinters were caught cheating earlier this year and a former head of the body highlighted a lack of testing.

Jamaica's minister responsible for sport, Natalie Neita Headley, announced the news while also saying her country vowed to step up the fight against drug cheats.

The resignations take effect at the end of 2013.

"Quite recently, JADCO's commissioners met and acknowledged that there is a public perception of the existence of conflicts of interests among some of the members of the commission," Headley said in a statement posted on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister.

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Even though Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were named male and female athletes of the year, respectively, by track and field's governing body last week, ex world-record holder Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson made the wrong type of headlines when they admitted to testing positive for banned substances in July.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown tested positive, too, although she was cleared to return by officials in Jamaica who deemed she didn't intend to enhance performance through taking a banned diuretic.

Members of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) examined JADCO's operations last month and Headley said Jamaica would give its "full support" to stiffer revisions to the WADA code expected to come into play in 2015.

In August, Renee Anne Shirley -- the former executive director of JADCO -- told Sports Illustrated that JADCO conducted a mere one out-of-competition test from March to July 2012, the months leading into the summer Olympics in London.

"At no time has WADA ever deemed Jamaica or JADCO to be non-compliant," Headley said. "At no time has WADA threatened to bar Jamaica or Jamaican athletes from participating in any international event — Olympic Games, World Championship or the like.

"As we continue to build on this rich sporting legacy, the Government of Jamaica will continue to do whatever it can to protect our good name and reputation and in the maintenance of a doping-free sporting environment."

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