Olympic and world 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser has been provisionally suspended by the IAAF after a positive test for a painkiller she claims she took to alleviate a toothache.
The president of Fraser's track club, Bruce James, said the Jamaican sprinter tested positive for oxycodone at the Diamond League meet May 23 in Shanghai.
Fraser found out about the provisional suspension hours before she was scheduled to compete in the 100 meters at the Athletissima meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday. She broke into tears in her hotel room upon hearing about the decision, her manager said, and was afraid what the public would think.
"She was so disappointed," Adrian Laidlaw said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "From a perception standpoint, she was concerned. But sometimes there are certain rules where people become a victim of a rule. All we can do is hope that good sense prevails."
Fraser had a dental procedure performed in May and then flew to China for the meet. "The up and down in pressure (during the flight) caused the pain to go from terrible to unbearable," James said.
A slight infection had set in, Laidlaw said, and Fraser was given medication by a physician to alleviate the pain.
When that didn't work, her coach gave her a painkiller before the race, a drug that Fraser failed to declare to the IAAF. Laidlaw said that if she had, "this wouldn't have been an issue."
Fraser ran a sluggish race, finishing second as Carmelita Jeter of the United States surged past her.
"It actually makes you perform more slowly, it makes you nauseous, lethargic and tired," James said. "It's a sad and unfortunate oversight on her part." Still, Laidlaw never expected it to reach this point. He figured at most she would be publicly reprimanded.
"She forgot to put it on the form," Laidlaw said. "It's like the kid going into a test and forgetting a pen. Do I punish you for leaving your pen? In effect, you punished yourself, put yourself at a disadvantage. It's in that context I view what took place. She's like, 'Here I am being penalized for something that made me run slow."' Fraser will fly back to Jamaica and seek a hearing before her national federation as soon as possible.
"She wants to have her name cleared," James said.