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Lewis laughs at Jamaica's drug testing programme; dismisses Bolt's Olympic performance

15 September 2008

By Gary Smith


American Olympic multi-gold medal winner Carl Lewis believes Jamaica has a laughable drugs-testing programme and has questioned the remarkable performance of sprint sensation Usain Bolt in Beijing.

Bolt, a 200 metres speciallist, established himself as a 100m runner with a sizzling 9.76 seconds in only his third competitive short dash of his international career at the Jamaica Invitational in May.

He then went on to remove fellow countryman Asafa Powell's world record later in the month in New York, prior to dominating the sprints at the Olympics in Beijing.

However, while others celebrated the achievement by the talented sprinter, who finished the Games with three world records to his name, American sprint legend Lewis, though refraining from accusing the Jamaican of doping, has cast doubts on his phenomenal performances.

"No one is accusing anyone. But don't live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect," Lewis told Sports Illustrated. "No country has had that kind of dominance.”

"I'm not saying they've done anything for certain. I don't know. But how dare anybody feel that there shouldn't be scrutiny, especially in our sport?

"I'm still working with the fact that he dropped from 10-flat to 9.6 in one year. I think there are some issues. Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested.

"I'm not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field," he concluded.
Ever since his race in Kingston, and then his total dominance over a strong field that included American World champion Tyson Gay in the world record race at the Reebok Classics on May 31, Bolt has been under the radar for doping.

The 22-year-old has, however, returned safe on all his many drug testings and has continuously denied using any enhancing substances. He went as far as even inviting those authorized to come and have random tests whenever they are provoked.

Dr Herb Elliott, the Jamaican team doctor who is also a member of the IAAF anti-doping commission, issued that Jamaica does have a plausible testing programme and backed Bolt to be clean.

"I am the person who tests in Jamaica, and I tested Bolt 15 times between last November and December," Elliott recalled.

He added that Bolt was also tested numerous time during, before and after the Olympics, adding that "anybody who wants to cast aspersions on our [drug] programme, I say go to hell."

Earlier this year, Glen Mills, who coaches Bolt at their Kingston training base, said his athlete is just being targeted by those who are "jealous" about his dominance this season.

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