Baptiste, Hackett withdraw from Moscow Athletics meet
Sunday, August 11 2013
Two Trinidad and Tobago female sprinters - Kelly Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett- have withdrawn from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships in Moscow, Russia. The Associated Press reported yesterday that Baptiste, 2011 bronze medallist had been scheduled to compete in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay but her name was missing from the 100 heats scheduled for today.
Online reports on major sports news websites including the BBC state that the 26-year-old Baptiste, the 2012 First Citizens Sportswoman of the Year, tested positive for a banned substance and left the World Championships taking place in Moscow, Russia.
Dexter Voisin, manager of Trinidad and Tobago’s team, said in a report in the Daily Mail newspaper, “(she has) voluntary withdrawn from the meet and has left the team’s village and is back at her base.”
NAAA president Ephraim Serrette, who is at the World Championships, said the local governing body will issue a media release “within 48 hours”.
Hasely Crawford, TT’s first Olympic gold medallist (at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada), declined comment.
“As an executive member, I really can’t comment,” said Crawford.
Former Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Larry Romany, in a brief telephone interview yesterday, admitted, “there’s very little that I can say, since I don’t know when she was tested.”
“Up to now, I have no information about what went on,” Romany said.
Both Baptiste and Hackett were also expected to feature in the TT women 4x100m relay team.
Said Romany, “it will be a significant blow to the 4x100m team. It can be very disturbing.”
Romany had earlier written on his Twitter account, “people, testing positive is a very complex issue. Please DON’T rush to judge and/or dismiss our athletes!!”
Baptiste, who placed third in the women 100 metres final at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, and sixth in the final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, joins Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson and Asafa Powell, as well as her training partner, American Tyson Gay, among high profile sprinters to have tested positive for banned substances in the past few months.
At the National Association of Athletics Association (NAAA) Championships in June, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Baptiste won the women 100m in 10.83 seconds, the third fastest time of the year thus far, behind Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.Moments after news broke about Baptiste, who trains under coach Lance Brauman in Florida, United States, it was revealed that Hackett was withdrawn from the meet. While a student at the Louisiana State University (LSU), the 24-year-old Hackett tested positive for methylhexaneamine at the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Iowa, United States.
Hackett was handed a provisional suspension by the NAAA disciplinary panel, but that suspension was subsequently lifted by the NAAA earlier this year, allowing Hackett to compete at the NAAA Championships in June. However, the IAAF appealed the NAAA verdict, and took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Acting Sports Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London were both unavailable for comment yesterday.
In a CMC report, two TT sprinters, Keston Bledman and Rondel Sorrillo, lent support to Baptiste.
Bledman, who trains with Baptiste and Gay, said, “only Kelly-Ann can answer that, but whatever it is, I hope she gets over it very fast. I am really sad and disappointed because she is my big sister and Tyson (Gay) is my big brother so, I’m sad and disappointed.” Added Sorillo:, “I really feel bad. I really don’t know what the reason was about.”
Top national cyclist Njisane Phillip also lent his support to Baptiste in a tweet, saying“tough time for you right now but stay strong”, while fellow athlete Ayodele Taffe, who is a member of the national team at Moscow, tweeted, “sigh this hurts.”