Dr. Paul Wright was fired as doping tester in Jamaica: – They do not think that the whole world is watching.
Antidoping Agency in Jamaica conducted 347 doping tests during the whole 2014. A former employee, dr. Paul Wright, calls it all a publicity stunt.
Shut up and keep your job! How has the mentality been. And that applies not only to Jamaica but also in Russia, Kenya and England, claims Paul Wright.
He welcomes VG ( Norwegian Newspaper) on an anonymous doctor’s office right in the capital Kingston. The desktop is loaded down. Wright has a distinctive white beard. He chuckles a lot – and laughing occasionally.
THE CRITICAL Dr. Paul Wright in his office in Kingston in Jamaica. PHOTO: ANDERS K. CHRISTIANSEN, VG
The Jamaican has practiced as a doctor for 30 years. Just as long, he has been working with anti-doping on the Caribbean island. For many years the doping hunter was a “one-man show.” He has seen “everything”, he says. Towards the end of 2013 he spoke openly about what he thought was the top of a doping iceberg in Jamaican athletics. A few months later he was out in the cold.
-Authorities here do not like people telling the truth. It’s bad for the business, says Wright.
As Rio Olympics now has end, Jamaica has managed to win 6 Gold at the athletics arena. But dr.Paul Wright does not conceal about it: He feels sacrificed.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with Norwegian Rune Andersen in the lead, demanded change early in 2014: The Board of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Agency (JADCO) was substituted. About the same time, it was game over for dr. Paul Wright. Less doping tests over a longer period had led to negative stories in the international media. The Confidence to the country that nurtures the worlds fastest people was not very big.
-I call what is happening today “conscious incompetence”. There is no doubt that I was sacrificed. I worked in a way that made a risk revealing “prominent doped athletes” from Jamaica. I have no evidence that they was using doping. But my thoughts was that we must be more proactive. The testing should be directed more clearly to individual athletes with abnormal results, says Wright.
Has Jamaica a major doping problem?
- I really do not know. I know that those we have taken, is revealed during competition. Then we are talking about stupid athletes, because they know the date any test will be taken. I was not allowed to emerge and test some without having notified it in advance. We could not do. And I was involved in a number of years, until 2013. The reason was allegedly economy. We had to travel as a team, and then it became too expensive. If it appeared that an athlete was not there, so was the cost still at JADCO. One can not test people when they say that they will be tested! That is naived.
After decades as a doping tester in Jamaica, has dr. Paul Wright felt ridicules. Athletes has called him a pervert when he has checked that they actually have urinated in a glass, instead of switching urine with others. On one occasion he got a light bulb in his apartment turned out and placed on a table. Wright saw the whole thing as a clear warning.
- I’m not involved today, and will be careful not to think too much. But I also hear that they do not have a blood passport program. It is in this case a disaster. The progress is just a publicity stunt, he says to VG.
Antidoping Agency of Jamaica (JADCO) had a budget of $ 660.000 in 2015. VG visited the office in Kingston, where 16 employees work. In 2014, when the budget was $ 765.000 public money, it was taken 347 urine samples on the Caribbean island. It was not taken one single blood test arranged by JADCO. In 2015 began JADCO with this, says JADCO director Carey Brown to VG.
JADCO DIRECTOR, Carey Brown, here he is meeting VG outside the antidoping agency’s office at Jamaica. PHOTO: ANDERS K. CHRISTIANSEN, VG
- Blood tests are essential to reveal certain types of doping. Number of tests we perform are increasing. But most important, whatever, is the quality of the tests, not quantity. The work must be targeted, he said.
Outside is the traffic in the capital of Jamaica chaotic. Behind high fences and up a staircase on the second floor, has JADCO headquarter. VG was given plenty of time in this meeting with Carey Brown, autumn 2015. His secretary attended the interview. Brown was hired in November 2013, after WADA demanded that all the previous board had to be replaced. WADA’s confidence was very small at the time. Earlier JADCO leader Renee Anne Shirley revealed summer of 2013 – in the media – that in the months before the London Olympics there was not conducted a single outside-competition control in Jamaica.
- Was the criticism at that time against you fair?
- I can only speak from November 2013, when I was hired. If we all the time looks backward, then we use all the time on driving in the wrong direction. I am grateful for the team we have here today. We must look ahead. What they did in the past, I can not comment, says Brown.
Asked whether it is more difficult to take dope in Jamaica today than a few years ago, he replied that “the goal is to protect the clean athletes.”
Brown is a well articulate man. He gives a good impression, and responds like a official.
- Do you have a doping problem at the top level in Jamaican Athletics?
What comes to elite athletes, I know – and this is documented- that they work very hard. I’ve seen athlete throw up his breakfast. Is there a doping culture? I can not say Yes or No. But my job is to ensure that if there is such a culture, it must be away. And if it does not exist, so it should not get roots. We have to give people training in the health risks involved in doping. People need to ask themselves, “Is this healthy?”. Education of both Athletes and people around the Athletes are important. I will not say if it’s a bad culture or not, it is not my job.
ONE OF THOSE WHO WAS TAKEN: Asafa Powell, here in 2012, received a six-month ban.
PHOTO: Mattis SAND SHEET, VG
The website “Dopinglist.com” has registered 23 cases of Jamaican athletes. Several were given two-year ban. The most high-profile names like Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake, was taken with a relatively “light” drugs in the body. They therefore got away with only a few months ban.
At Jamaica is Athletics the most popular sport among ordinary people. An entire nation followed infront of TV when World Cup Athletics in Beijing (2015) was showed. Although dismissed Paul Wright. He wept for joy when Bolt took World Cup gold medal last year at 100 meters ahead of previous doping sentenced Justin Gatlin, he reveals.
- Do you feel that the whole world looks at you before Rio Olympics, Carey Brown?
I do not know, and for me that means nothing. The focus is just to get the job done. WADA code are there to harmonize the work done worldwide. I’m concerned about what others think, then I loose focus. I just have to make sure we have a proper anti-doping program. If we worry about what everyone else will say, then we have a problem.