Tuesday 7 July, 2020

Briana Williams may withdraw from World Athletics Championships team

Seventeen-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams.

Seventeen-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams.

Canadian-based sports attorney, Dr Emir Crowne, says 17-year-old sprint sensation, Briana Williams could voluntarily withdraw from Jamaica's 55-member team to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha if a ruling in her doping case is not handed down by Thursday.

The World Championships, scheduled for 10 days, starts on Friday with the first round of the women's 100m scheduled to begin on Saturday.

Dr Crowne, who is representing Williams, made the statement on Tuesday after the scheduled three-day anti-doping at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingstonhearing ended a day earlier.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) had named Williams in Jamaica's team on September 11 despite the athlete's doping case after she tested positive for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).

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' legal team had asked the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel for a quick verdict in its case against the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), but the chairman of the panel  Kent Gammon pointed out that his team would not be forced to arrive at a decision.

Dr Crowne told reporters that “we understand from the IAAF and the JAAA that Miss Williams' entry needs to be in by Thursday, but the panel wouldn't commit to that.

“I had pressed the panel to give us some kind of time frame for when we can expect at least a short decision.

“Just tell us what the sanction would be, if any, and then take 20 days or 30 days to give the reasons, but the panel would not commit to that.

“Unfortunately, we are at a spot now where I understand from Dr Blake (President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association, JAAA) that the JAAA needs to know by Thursday about her status in terms of her travelling and entering her on Friday. So, if they don’t know by Thursday then Briana would have to voluntarily withdraw.”

He further added that  "quite frankly it leaves us in a bad spot because now, where we are, its either Miss Williams voluntarily withdraws, which begrudgingly she has agreed to do, because we wouldn't want to end up in a situation that has happened in the recent past where an athlete — after the fact — gets an anti-doping violation and Jamaica's relay medals are stripped from them. So Miss Williams is actually willing to voluntarily withdraw."

Williams who is based in the United States booked her spot on the team to Doha after clocking 10.94 seconds in the 100m final at the National trials in June to finish third behind Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

It has been reported that at the National trials, Williams took over-the-counter 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.

Williams' legal team had argued at the anti-doping hearing that the medicine that the athlete took was found to contain elements of the diuretic.

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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