The withdrawal of sprinters Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett from the 14th IAAF World Championships, here in Moscow, Russia, has dented Trinidad and Tobago’s hopes of securing precious metal in the women’s 4x100 metres relay.
The news that Baptiste had tested positive for a banned substance and had left Moscow was broken on the Express website (www.trinidadexpress.com) at 9.56 a.m. yesterday.
“She has voluntarily withdrawn from the competition and is heading back to her base,” said T&T team manager Dexter Voisin yesterday.
However, he refused to confirm that Baptiste had tested positive.
“I can’t disclose anything pertaining to that.”
However, a source later confirmed that the 2011 World Championship women’s 100 metres bronze medallist had actually returned a positive test.
Another T&T sprinter, Semoy Hackett, has also withdrawn from the meet. “They both left (yesterday) morning,” Voisin told the Sunday Express.
Hackett, a standout sprinter for Louisiana State University (LSU), had tested positive for methylhexaneamine at the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in Iowa, USA.
As a result, she was handed a provisional suspension by a National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) disciplinary panel.
The suspension was later lifted by the NAAA panel, and Hackett was free to run at the National Championships, in June.
But the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has appealed the NAAA ruling, taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). “The IAAF doping department has re-suspended Hackett pending the outcome of the CAS case,” Voisin explained.
NAAA president Ephraim Serrette told the Sunday Express yesterday the withdrawal of Baptiste and Hackett from the global meet will be addressed in a press release.
With the two Tobago sprinters out of the Championships, the women’s 4x100m relay squad is down to just five athletes—Michelle-Lee Ahye, Kai Selvon, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant and sprint hurdler Aleesha Barber.
Coming into the Championships, T&T were strong contenders for a women’s sprint relay podium finish. But now, they will be hard-pressed to be among the top finishers.
Baptiste trains in Clermont, Florida, under the guidance of American coach Lance Brauman.
One of her training partners in Clermont, American track star Tyson Gay has failed multiple drug tests this year.
T&T sprinter Keston Bledman is also coached b y Brauman in Clermont. Following his impressive opening round run in the World Championship men’s 100 metres dash, here in Moscow yesterday, Bledman told the Sunday Express he was saddened by the news that Baptiste had withdrawn from the Championships.
“That’s my training partner. Kelly has always been there for me, I’ve been there for her.
“Normally, we would be practising, she would be talking to me. She is more experienced than me, but I don’t really know what’s going on with her.
“It was playing on my mind at first,” Bledman added.
“Kelly just told me she’s leaving in the morning. I never saw her before she left, because I was sleeping for my race. Sad for that blow, but...”