St. John’s Antigua- Vice President of the St Kitts & Nevis National Olympic Committee, Dennis Knight, said he is not too concerned over threats of legal action against the organisation following the expelling of the country’s lone female athlete, Tameka Williams, from the ongoing 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Williams had been sent home from the Olympics after admitting taking a banned substance, officials said Sunday.
The 22 year old sprinter, who is the Caribbean country‘s 100m and 200m record-holder, did not fail a drugs test, but made the revelation during discussions over vitamins and nutritional supplements, an official told AFP.
Knight, who is currently in London, spoke on Hitz FM’s Good Morning Jojo sports show on Wednesday, reporting that he has heard reports out of St Kitts of intentions to take legal actions against the NOC.
“In any circumstances like this, one always has some recourse and if the coach feels that some legal recourse is what he needs to take then the individual had the right to do that so we are not at all perturbed by that. At the same time we are taking this action, the privacy and the rights of the individual has got to be observed at all times as well, so we are not going to be perturbed by that if that is the action that is going to be taken,” he said.
Knight also reminded that it was in fact the athlete who admitted to taking the unnamed substance and that once this was done, the NOC had no other option.
“Tameka, in discussion with the team’s management, volunteered the information in fact that she had been using this substance (and) that meant of course that we had to do some due diligence, consult with the doping fraternity and so on to get their take on it; to inform them what was going on and to get their opinions and so on,” he said.
“Once we had concluded that his was a substance that would fall within a prohibited category then what that amounts to is that the athlete had admitted to contravening the medical codes and so we felt that we had no option but to remove her from competition,” the VP added.
Williams marched in Friday‘s opening ceremony but flew out the following day and according to Knight, the decision to expel the athlete from the Games is in no way meant to discourage the young sprinter.
“We believe in Tameka Williams. She is a young woman of immense talents. She is still very young; still has possibly, apart from this Olympic Games, maybe another two Olympics under her belt if she remains fit and healthy and in form, and so we would want to act in a way that can also preserve her future, so to speak, and so this action is intended to do all of that. It’s not an action, for instance, to end her career,” Knight said.
Asked how the situation has affected the rest of the team, Knight said it has obviously left both athletes and officials more than a bit concerned.
“Well, obviously this is a team and at the very start of it they were very much concerned over it. We had the team in camp in St Kitts before they left for London and then they left and were in camp here (London) for another week and a half, almost two weeks before they actually moved over to the Olympic Village so this is a group of athletes that has been sort of gelled into a unit,” he said.
“So anybody having to be asked to leave at this point does hurt a little bit and they are very much concerned for her own wellbeing, her own career and all that sort of thing.”
Williams is the third athlete sent home over doping cases at the Games after Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina and Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku, who both failed tests for banned substances.
More than a dozen athletes have also been expelled for pre-competition offences.
The World Anti-Doping Authority has said London will be the most stringently policed Games yet with more than 6,000 tests carried out during the event.