Boldon pleads sprinter Briana Williams’ innocence

Briana Williams (L) poses with her coach Ato Boldon

Former TT sprinter Ato Boldon said he is ready for a hearing, expressing confidence that contaminated tablets led his Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams to test positive for diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).

Boldon, who has coached Williams for a number of years, said, “The comments made by her attorney are what we are going with right now. We are pretty secure in our case. We have tested the medication her mother gave her and it was positive for diuretic, so it was a case of contaminated tablets. That is all we are saying right now. We have independent labs verifying that, so we are ready for our hearing.”

Williams’ attorney Dr Emir Crowne, told media last Tuesday he will be seeking an expedited hearing and will be contesting that the 17-year-old had no fault in the circumstances and therefore, should not face any sanctions.

“Our primary position will be that Ms Williams bears no fault in the circumstances and there should be no sanctions levied against her. That will be our primary position,” Crowne said. “It will be an uphill battle, but this is one of the truly genuine times, when there was nothing more that the athlete could do in the circumstances.

“Failing a finding of no fault whatsoever, then we will rely on a finding of no significant fault because again it’s a contaminated product and under the WADA Code and JADCO code, the minimum sanction is a reprimand, so we will be asking, in light of the circumstances (that she receives a reprimand).”

Williams’ B sample has reportedly confirmed the presence of the substance, which was first detected from tests carried out at the Jamaica National Senior Championships from June 20-23. However, Crowne said he is yet to receive confirmation of this.

“We want to be very clear that we were not the ones, who revealed that it was in fact Briana Williams and we are a bit concerned that the information has come to light between her A sample and requesting her B sample being tested. We remain very concerned how her name came to light,” said Crowne.

“Quite frankly, we have not received any notice of the results of her B sample yet. I emailed JADCO to follow up and we have no official communication from JADCO whatsoever about that,” he added.

The athlete’s ‘A’ sample was originally tested at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited lab in Montreal, Canada.

Diuretics are often abused by athletes to excrete water for rapid weight loss and to mask the presence of other banned substances.

On July 25, Williams and her team were advised of an adverse analytical finding in her ‘A’ sample from the National Senior Championships, where she placed third in the 100m in 10.94 seconds to secure a spot on the country’s team to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

It is, however, understood from a well-placed source, which requested anonymity, that Williams’ team has pointed to a contaminated cold and flu medication, which importantly, she had declared on her testing protocol form, as the source of the banned substance.

The medication, which does not list HCTZ as an active ingredient, was subsequently sent by Williams’ team to be tested independently by NSF International Labs in Michigan, USA, which confirmed that the medication used by the athlete was contaminated with traces of the banned diuretic.

It is understood by sources familiar with the situation that there may be mitigating circumstances in Williams’ case, given the fact that, at 17 years-old, she is still a minor and has never competed internationally as a senior athlete