By Kayon Raynor
KINGSTON (Reuters) - Rio Games-bound athletes from Jamaica, a nation that is no stranger to doping scandals, went through a drug-testing program the head of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) calls a "model for many other countries."
The tiny nation known for producing dominant sprinters has not veered off course since receiving high marks from the World Anti-Doping Agency early last year in its efforts toward beefing up drug testing, according to JOA head Mike Fennell.
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"We're satisfied that Jamaica has been carrying its responsibility for testing and monitoring anti-doping procedures which can be a model for many other countries," Fennell said after Jamaica unveiled their 63-member delegation for the Aug. 5-21 Rio Olympics on Monday.
"I'm very happy to tell you that this is going on so that Jamaica has no fear as far as the organization of anti-doping matters is concerned."
The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission improved testing since a WADA team visited the Caribbean nation in 2013 and carried out a forensic audit following positive tests by Olympic and world championship medallists Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Since that time, only cricketers Andre Russell and Odean Brown committed anti-doping whereabouts violations.
JADCO now has a new board after the previous one resigned in the wake of a drug-testing crisis in 2013 and introduced blood testing last year in its ongoing fight against drugs in sports.
Fennell also said athletes and officials headed to Rio will be briefed to ensure the Jamaican delegation will be fully up to speed as far as drug testing is concerned.
"The whole world of sports today has had to be dealing with doping or anti-doping issues and Jamaica is no different," said Fennell. "I’d like to make everyone know that from the beginning of this year we have been in collaboration with JADCO in terms of having a robust testing arrangement, reviewing the registered testing pool for athletes."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)