Number 927 • Friday, August 3, 2012

Public Calling for Answers from Tameka Williams
Dismissed Olympian remains silent
By LK Hewlett
Tameka Williams
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Almost a week after sprinter Tameka Williams was sent home from the London Olympics by St. Kitts-Nevis officials, members of the public are clamoring for the 22-year-old to give her side of the story.

Last Saturday (July 28) news that Williams, the sole female on the St. Kitts-Nevis Olympic team had been disqualified from the Games in relation to a doping violation rocked proud track fans across the Federation.

According to the St. Kitts-Nevis Olympic Committee (SKNOC) Williams confessed to taking a banned substance. The Observer learned that Williams admitted to having injected Blast Off Red into her system, a drug used to enhance the performance of race horses and greyhounds.

The athlete’s admission came in her written declaration at the Games which was submitted before she was allowed to participate in the Olympic Opening Ceremony. The SKNOC members in London reportedly consulted with a number of affiliate associations and after discussions with Williams a decision was taken to remove her from the team and send her home the following day.

Williams took to Facebook despite an agreement that the matter would be handled discreetly to avoid a media frenzy.

“Although results from a drug test in early June came back clean I was sent home due to false accusations. It's sad to see a 22-year-old’s dreams washed away by people who don't believe in me. W/ no chance of a second drug test to prove my innocence I was dismissed. SKN I am not sorry for working hard all year and I have never taken illegal substances to enhance my performance or any thereof.”

International, regional and local press picked up on the story and Williams became the subject of many news headlines. The sprinter has since removed the post and gone into ‘hiding’.

Throughout the course of this week many sporting officials, family members and track aficionados have weighed in on the matter and responses to Williams’ dismissal have run the gamut. While some are calling for the athlete’s head on a platter, yet others have expressed their support.

As the story unravels and more information comes to light, it was revealed that Williams was tested twice prior to heading to London and tested negative for banned substances.

The Observer was reliably informed that the substances Williams said she injected was not listed under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list however the drug falls under the category of veterinary medicine, which is on the Agency’s prohibited list.

The SKNOC had issued a press statement on Saturday giving a brief explanation of the events that unfolded in London.

“In discussion with team management, Ms. Williams volunteered information to the effect that she has been using a substance which the SKNOC considers to fall outside the internationally accepted Medical Code. All the necessary bodies have been duly notified. This matter will be concluded pending further investigations,” the SKNOC said.

Since then at least two SKNOC have been in the local and international media fielding questions.

Callers to radio talk shows are asking why Williams had cheated, if she had knowingly taken a banned drug, whether she had been treated fairly and what this would do to her career going forward.

One caller to a popular daytime radio show said she was hearing “too much things from too much people” and wanted the athlete to go public with her account of what transpired.

“Everybody talking this and that; people who in the know and people who well want to know. Everybody got an opinion but I want to hear Tameka say in her own words what she did and why. Let her come forward and be judged accordingly,” she said.

Family members have publicly expressed their love and support for Williams and are keeping the media at bay by deflecting media calls.

SKNOC Vice-President Dennis Knight said Williams further admitted verbally in greater detail to taking the substance. He said Williams was fully aware of why the SKNOC had taken the actions it had.

“What was the other option? Let her stay. Let her compete and perhaps be tested positive for the drug? In our minds it was absolutely clear what we should have done. Tamika’s posting which was done in anger and frustration, and I don’t understand that was not very accurate,” he said.

Williams’ case is still under investigation as the public and no doubt the athlete eagerly await an outcome to this debacle.