Wisdom: Doctors should address doping matter
AThe Bahamian doctors named in an Al Jazeera documentary on doping in sports have brought the country’s athletics program into question and must publicly address the matter, former Minister of Sports Neville Wisdom said yesterday.
“Based on what they said on camera, they would have to answer to some authority,” he said when called for comment.
“If they are innocent, they need to indicate their innocence and try to assist as best they can to take this stain off the Bahamian athletic program.
“The doctors, through their public pronouncements, have brought the country’s athletics program into question, and they need to do everything that they can to have the matter clarified.
“I can’t see a doctor who is dispensing banned drugs and pronouncing that for any other reason than to show off.”
The documentary, titled “The Dark Side”, featured British hurdler Liam Collins traveling to various countries, including The Bahamas.
While on New Providence, Collins, equipped with a hidden microphone and camera, met with two Bahamian doctors and asked for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
The first doctor Collins met with told him that he “doesn’t do the banned stuff anymore” and referred him to another doctor.
During his meeting with the second doctor, Collins asked for PEDs, which the physician claimed he can get.
When Collins asked if he had any gold medals to his name, the doctor said that three of the Golden Girls were patients of his, but he said he only provided them with traditional medications.
Al Jazeera said that one of the doctors later told them that he lied to Collins and the other denied supplying banned drugs to athletes.
On Monday, Golden Girl Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie said she has “never taken drugs, is drug free and will retire being drug free”.
The Golden Girls struck gold in the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain, and again one year later, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Wisdom, a former coach of Golden Girl Pauline Davis-Thompson, said he has to question the “validity” of what was said in the documentary.
He said if any of “our athletes would have participated in this type of activity, it would be a big surprise” to him.
“Anything is possible, I guess, but from my years of coaching and experience as an administrator in track and field in The Bahamas, if I am going to err with regard to this, I err on the side of the athletes,” he said.
“As far as I know, the athletes that I know, particularly the medalists, the Golden Girls and the Golden Knights, from my interaction with them, they are of sturdy character. I have not heard of any of them being tested positive.
“At the end of the day shouldn’t the test be the factor as opposed to an accusation?
“If you test positive, you should suffer the consequences, but if you test negative, why should you be punished and humiliated?”