Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Jamaica's Briana Williams tests positive for banned substance

Seventeen-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams.

Seventeen-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams.

Jamaica's 17-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams has tested positive for a banned diuretic but denies wrongdoing and has requested her B sample to be analysed.

The World Under-20 double sprint gold medallist and national junior 100m record holder, who is based in the USA, tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) after tests carried out by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) at the National Senior Championships between June 20-23 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic medication often used to treat high blood pressure and swelling due to fluid build-up. It belongs to a class of drugs known as diuretics/water pills. It works by causing you to make more urine, which helps the body to get rid of extra salt and water.

The medication also reduces extra fluid in the body (edema) caused by conditions such as heart failure, liver disease, or kidney disease.

However, the use of Hydrochlorothiazide is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its ability to mask the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Williams and her team were advised of an adverse analytical finding in her 'A' sample on July 25. Williams is coached by Trinidad and Tobago's four-time Olympic medal winner, Ato Bolden.

Canadian-based sports attorney, Dr Emir Crowne, who is representing Williams, confirmed the positive test by the sprinter.

The confirmation came a day after news emerged that a Jamaican athlete 'A' sample returned a positive test from urine samples taken at the National Senior Championship.

At the National Senior Championship, Williams placed third in the 100m in 10.94 seconds behind Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to secure a spot on Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Athletics Championships between September 27 and October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

The lawyer is seeking a speedy resolution to the case against the athlete.

He has also expressed concern that the athlete’s name was leaked to the media even before her team was notified of the test results from her urine sample.

It has been reported that at the National Senior Championship, Williams took Pharma cold and flu tablets to fight a high fever while competing in the 100m, where her time of 10.94 seconds was a national junior record and a world Under-18 record.

“Between her ‘A’ sample and ‘B’ sample being tested, we are concerned about how her name has come to light,” Dr Crowne said on Tuesday evening while responding to media reports that the athlete’s B sample had also returned a positive result for HCTZ.

“We have no results of her B sample yet. We have no visual communication from JADCO whatsoever.”

Notwithstanding those concerns, Dr Crowne said he wants the matter resolved as quickly as possible so that Williams can retain her spot on the Jamaican team to what would be her first World Championships.

The team to Doha is expected to be named early September.

“If JADCO sends this to the independent disciplinary panel, we need an expedited hearing to hear her sanction, if any,” Dr. Crowne said.

“This is an over-the-counter cold and flu tablet, sealed tablet containing the diuretic in question. The independent test confirmed that the source of the diuretic is the tablet.”

Under the WADA and IAAF rules, an athlete faces the possibility of a maximum ban of four years for a first offence if found guilty.

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