By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission plans to respond to claims made by an international news agency that The Bahamas is a source from where top world athletes allegedly received some of their dosages of banned performance enhancing drugs, The Tribune has learned.
BADC officials, while not authorised to speak in depth on the issue, confirmed that the commission will be making a statement in response to the allegations put forth by Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera over the weekend. However, BADC officials could not confirm whether an actual investigation will be launched as a result of the allegations.
That decision, officials said, lies with BADC Chairman Dr Jerome Lightbourne.
On Sunday, a documentary from Al Jazeera’s Investigation Unit entitled “The Dark Side - Secrets Of The Sports Dopers” revealed how former American sprinter Tim Montgomery, in an interview with British hurdler Liam Collins, met a doctor in the Bahamas and was supplied with his first dose of the banned substance testosterone and celebrated with a fish dinner at the Fish Fry.
“We went to Goldie’s Fish Fry and I was like ‘Man, that’s the first time I had red snapper,’” Mr Montgomery reportedly said. “I wish I could get some of this fish back.”
According to Mr Montgomery, that was how he began allegedly smuggling the drug to the United States – through the frozen fish.
As a result of what was discovered, the news agency launched an eight-month investigation in which Mr Collins went undercover in an attempt to expose the widespread nature of performance enhancing drugs in global sports.
In order to get information, Mr Collins told medical professionals tied to the trade of performance enhancing drugs – including growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone – that he wanted another shot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Part of his investigation took him to New Providence, where undercover video further revealed his meeting with two Bahamian doctors - Dr Cyprian Strachan, who once sat on a Caribbean-wide anti-doping body for bodybuilding, and Dr Nicholas Fox.
Dr Fox is shown on camera claiming that three of the Golden Girls, the Bahamian sprint relay team that triumphed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia were “patients of mine.” Although Dr Fox did not mention names, when asked if he helped them he said not with banned substances but with “more traditional medications.”
When later contacted by Al Jazeera, Dr Fox reportedly said he had been lying to Mr Collins, could not get banned drugs and had never seen professional athletes.
Dr Strachan, meanwhile, later said he had never supplied banned drugs.
Attempts by The Tribune to contact both doctors were unsuccessful up to press time. Nonetheless, International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Councilwoman Pauline Davis-Thompson, when contacted by Al Jazeera, emphatically denied the allegations, saying that she condemned “athletes who dope” as “morally warped and gutless.”
Ms Davis-Thompson, a member of the Olympic gold medal-winning quartet, also categorically denied that she had ever met Dr Fox.
“The Dark Side” paints a picture of an underground marketplace where athletes can easily obtain drugs that are hard to detect even with sophisticated drug tests like those implemented by the MLB, the NFL and the Olympics. It also raises questions about how serious the owners of professional sports teams are about rooting out drug use, which can make the games more exciting and profitable, while doing damage to the bodies of players, not owners.