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Official Release re - Jamaican Athletes

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Official Release re - Jamaican Athletes

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In a joint statement issued by the presidents of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the following foods have been placed on the list of banned substances issued by WADA: yam, green bananas, cocoa, dasheen, breadfruit, ackee and saltfish, mackeral run down, turned cornmeal, Jerked pork and chicken, escovietched fish Malta, Supligen, Milo (said to be the food drink of Champions), Horlicks and coconut oil.

Jamaicans seem to become extremely athletic on diets containing these foods. Coming out of WADA labs, one of the major banned substances from Jamaica is the Cassava root, a high fibre, high starch tuber root that is eaten in Jamaica. It has properties which are said to enhance endurance and cause muscle fibres to twitch faster. This comes after an extensive study of the diets of the Jamaican athletes who took part in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

Though 100% natural foods, it is felt by WADA that these foods, because of their unique properties, give Jamaican athletes an unfair advantage. High concentrations of carbohydrates and other naturally occurring substances are said to be mimicking the effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Some foods in particular have been noted to cause an unusual increase in the male hormone testosterone. As such, WADA has also seen it fit to add these foods to the list of banned substances.

Given the sensitivity of this issue, Jamaican athletes participating in the current Olympic games in Beijing have not been banned, but must submit to these new restrictions within the next two years. Two substances which have also been discovered during testing of Jamaican foods are “yamstenine”, a yam derivative, and “cocosterone”, a derivative of the coco plant. These substances have been found to mimic nandrolone and the blood booster EPO, hence the preliminary banning of the substances themselves, and the banning of the foods derived from them.

This ruling will also affect other Caribbean and some African countries which share diets that are similar to Jamaicans.

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