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TTOC president urges patience over doping claims

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis has expressed his confidence in the doping status of local athletes. The TTOC's top man also declared his faith that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) would resolve the recent doping allegations now plaguing the organisation. It has been reported that the recent allegations made by German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times newspaper in Britain could lead to a mass reshuffling of results from the Olympics and World Championships for the last decade and more.

Lewis however, has confidence that the IAAF can stay on top of the doping. "We have to wait and see what the investigative process produces," he said. "The IAAF would take the necessary steps, and have a very comprehensive process in place."

According to him, as a part of their push towards 2020, the IAAF has a zero-tolerance policy where doping is concerned. "As difficult as it may seem, it is important in the battle for clean athletes."

The TTOC head was unwilling to see the current situation internationally as a "crisis" however. "I don't see it as a catastrophe. I see it as part of an ongoing effort," he said. "All these matters do, is highlight the efforts to maintain a level playing field. Sports like life, is not immune to negative situations, and the emphasis should be to improve, and to continue to improve."

Local sprinters Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett have both been in the spotlight for doping in the past two years. But Lewis told the Express that there is unlikely to be cases of more doping allegations locally.

"We emphasise the importance of competing clean and we expect that to continue," he said. "I don't expect any local athletes to figure in the scandals. The NAAA have put in the necessary measures to make sure the athletes are clean."

According to the TTOC boss, an Anti-Doping Agency will be soon established in T&T for Olympic-level sport. "The Ministry of Sport have shown great impetus to move the Anti-Doping Agency forward, and I expect to see it established soon."

In a final statement, he reiterated that all of the local athletes currently competing internationally are competing clean and are making every effort to continue to do so.

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