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Hackett on dope ban

By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Tuesday, March 6 2012

NATIONAL SPRINTER, Semoy Hackett has been banned for six months by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the National Association of Athletic Administrators (NAAA) after testing positive for the banned stimulant substance, methylhexamine, at the National Championships last year.

The announcement was made by president of the NAAA, Ephraim Serrette and secretary Allan Baboolal at a press conference held at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva yesterday.

Hackett’s six-month ban began from September 16, 2011 and concludes next week Friday.

September 16 was chosen for the start of Hackett’s ban since this was the day that the NAAA received an official letter from the IAAF confirming the local sprinter had to be banned for using an illegal substance.

The 22-year-old sprinter has been stripped of all medals and titles from the period of August 13 to September 16. Hackett’s gold medal in the Women’s 100-metre at the National Championships will now be handed to runner-up, Kai Selvon and third place Michelle Lee Ahye will receive the silver medal.

The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s 4x100m relay team Olympic qualifying has also been put in jeopardy. At last year’s World Championships, Hackett and teammates Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Selvon and Lee Ahye attained an Olympic qualifying time of 42.58 seconds.

However, this time has be officially annulled since this performance took place between the allotted time of Hackett’s positive test.

The LSU sprinter will not be allowed to compete at the World Indoor Championships which takes place in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday.

“On August 13, one of the days of the Championships, the NAAA’s conducted dope testing and samples (urine) were collected. Four samples were done over the period of two days. They were done on Semoy Hackett, Annie Alexander, Richard Thompson and Quincy Wilson. Those were done randomly, using two first placed and two second placed athletes in two track events. The samples were collected by our official regional testing agency and was sent to our accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada on August 17. On September 5, we did receive notification from the IAAF that one of the results returned positive with the prohibited substance, methylhexamine. We were then advised by the IAAF to suspend the athlete in question and of course, the process had to go through,” said Baboolal on Hackett’s ban.

Serrette and Baboolal admitted that the official procedure resulted in the length period before a decision was made.

“The athlete had to prove how the substance got into her system. The process when you are tested needs you to declare all that you have been taking (supplements). Taking a normal sport drink from somebody you would not expect it to have anything (illegal) in it,” Serette said.

Baboolal added, “Even in her doping control form she did declare two items being used, one being Cataflam (tablet pain-killer) and the other N. O. Xplode (performance-enhancer). We had gotten samples from her from a particular batch that was bought in the US and these were also sent to the laboratory. She even had to go to the company that made the product. We also took sealed samples of the N.O Xplode. And they all came back negative. Only then she remembered she took the drink from the athlete.”

The NAAA president defended the actions of Hackett and revealed that the mishap could have been prevented if she had been more responsible.

“She was unsure of how the substance actually got into her system, but subsequently recalled having a drink from another athlete, believing it to be a simple popular sport drink. The supplement had been added to the drink unknown to Ms Hackett. And this turned out to be the source of the methylhexamine. The other athlete was also unaware that the supplement contained a banned substance. As a result, the committee would have met and the NAAA’s have imposed a ban on Ms Hackett for a period of six months, going in to effect from September 16 2011. The athletes know that they are responsible for the substances they put into their body,” Serrette said.

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