IAAF SLAMS DOOR SHUT ON BAPTISTE

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Kelly-Ann Baptiste - Photo: Getty Images

Just when Trinidad and Tobago Sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste thought there was a light at the end of her dark tunnel, news came that International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) will appeal the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA’s) decision to lift her ban for an anti-doping rule violation during the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last year.

News coming out of Trinidad and Tobago last week, was that the NAAA received notification that the IAAF intended to appeal the decision of the disciplinary panel to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and in so doing, reinstated Baptiste’s ban.

Baptiste had reportedly tested positive for a banned substance and voluntarily withdrew from the 2013 World Championship Moscow. The NAAA disciplinary panel, which first met on June 6, 2014, indicated in a press release that they will have to meet for a second time due to the prevailing anti-doping rules of the 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.

In justifying their decision to lift the ban, the NAAA stated: “The Disciplinary Panel decided on August 12, 2014, that in view of the applicable regulations regarding substantial assistance, Baptiste’s general conduct and co-operation, the decisions in previous anti-doping case law and the fact that she had served a 16-month period of ineligibility (already four months longer than Gay) since the collection of her urine sample, her ban would be lifted with immediate effect, with the panel having the power to reinstate the ban subsequently, if the circumstances so required.”

Normally, athletes receive a two-year suspension for their first major doping offense but under anti-doping rules the ban can be reduced for substantial co-operation.

Most recently US sprinter Tyson Gay, was banned for only one-year having cooperated with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the IAAF. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledged Gay’s help and did not appeal his one-year suspension.