Briana Williams tests positive for banned substance

The smooth road to stardom for Jamaican sprinting phenom, Briana Williams, has hit a potential speed bump as she has tested positive for a banned diuretic, according to multiple reports.

News broke Tuesday afternoon that Williams, 17, failed a drug test after the diuretic in question, Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), was detected in tests initially conducted at the National Senior Championships in Kingston this past June. Her ‘A’ and ‘B’ sample, each of which was tested at the World-Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) accredited lab in Montreal, confirmed the findings.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic used by athletes to lose weight or mask the presence of anabolic steroids.

Williams, the national junior 100 m record holder and two-time U20 world champion, finished third at the national trials in the women’s 100 m final. As a result, she earned herself a spot at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Doha, Qatar, joining Olympic gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson. 

Her legal team already has its defense lined up, arguing that Williams had no fault in the matter and that the test results were triggered by a contaminated cold and flue medication. Williams ran the women’s 100 m final at the national trials with a high fever and did not run the 200 m at the event.

Williams reportedly declared the medication of her testing protocol form during the testing process.

Jamaican sprinting legend, Veronica Campbell-Brown, also tested positive for HCTZ in 2013. She was later given a reprimand by the Jamaican Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) and cleared entirely by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upon appeal in 2014. It was deemed she had not used the medication she took that contained HCTZ for performance-enhancing reasons and that JAAA testing procedures didn’t comply with international standards.

The 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics kickoff on September 27. As a result of the failed tests, Williams is due for a public hearing in the coming weeks and may miss her first major senior international competition as a result.

She is coached by Olympic medallist and Trinidadian track legend, Ato Boldon.


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Written by Jodee Brown

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