The appointment of former national player Dennis Lawrence as the country’s new national senior men’s football coach has brought a sigh of relief for many local coaches and sports enthusiasts.
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IAAF restores Baptiste’s 2-year ban
Two weeks following the decision by the National Association of Athletics’ Administrations’ (NAAA) Disciplinary Panel to immediately lift T&T runner Kelly-Ann Baptiste’s ban, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has reinstated the ban with the intention of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to force the runner to complete the full two-year term.
In a media release issued by the NAAA yesterday, Peter Samuel, the association’s public relations officer and member of the disciplinary panel said he and the other panel members, chairman and attorney J Tyrone Marcus, Brigadier-General Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, and NAAA general secretary Allan Baboolal, were of the view that Baptiste, a World Championship bronze medalist, served sufficient time on the ban, when compared to that of American sprinter Tyson Gay, who they said was banned under similar circumstances.
Contacted for clarity, Samuel said the NAAA was of the opinion that the initial ruling was harsh, and considering Gay’s original sentence was reduced to half of the initial sentence, the same should be done for Baptiste, given that she too co-operated and did everything that was asked of her. He said Baptiste’s case “was the same as Gay’s”.
Samuel said Baptiste’s case has received support from officials of US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and who also provided an affidavit in her defense. The media release issued by the NAAA is as follows: “The National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAA) wishes to announce the conclusion of the first instance hearing regarding the Kelly-Ann Baptiste anti-doping rule violation. On August 5, 2014, the NAAA’s Disciplinary Panel comprising Attorney-at-Law, J Tyrone Marcus as Chairman, Brigadier-General Anthony Phillips-Spencer of the Defence Force, sports medicine specialist Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, NAAA Public Relations Officer, Peter Samuel, and NAAA General Secretary Allan Baboolal, reconvened to issue its final ruling having first met on June 6, 2014.
The second meeting was necessary due to the prevailing anti-doping rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which stipulated that in cases like that of Baptiste, where Substantial Assistance was provided, the matter needed to be referred to the Doping Review Board of the IAAF before being remitted to the Disciplinary Panel. The Substantial Assistance provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code and related rules globally are aimed at encouraging openness and full disclosure but have rarely been invoked. The most recent Substantial Assistance case involved US sprinter Tyson Gay, who served a one-year suspension having co-operated with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the IAAF. The World Anti-Doping Agency, acknowledged Gay’s help and did not appeal his one-year suspension.
Due to the sensitivity of the information provided by Baptiste as she co-operated with various anti-doping regulators, her hearing was conducted in strict confidence, especially because of the potential impact her disclosures could have on revealing past or current doping offenses by third parties.