Cleopatra Borel has appealed to the public to not condemn Trinidad and Tobago sprinters Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett, following their withdrawal from the 14th IAAF World Championships, here in Moscow, Russia.

Baptiste left Moscow on Saturday, following a positive drugs test.

Hackett also left the Russian capital after she was re-suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for a doping violation in 2012. Hackett had been cleared to run by a National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) disciplinary panel. The IAAF, however, has appealed that decision, taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

After the story broke on Saturday that Baptiste had tested positive for a banned substance, T&T sprint star Richard “Torpedo” Thompson said that his former Louisiana State University (LSU) teammate had always represented the country “honestly and in a clean way”.

Another T&T sprinter, Keston Bledman, who trains with Baptiste in Clermont, Florida, said he was saddened by the news.

Yesterday, Borel added her voice, the veteran thrower giving valuable insight into the life of an elite athlete.

“I hope the public understands that we’re all human, and that they support us, all of us. It’s not just one or two athletes. It’s the entire team. We support Kelly-Ann and Semoy 100 per cent, and we wait for them to come back with open arms.

“We’re all human and we all make mistakes, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. The whole doping thing is extremely difficult for athletes. There have been times when I’ve almost taken a medicine, and someone would remind me to check it and I’d check it and realise that it’s on the list. It’s really exhausting, and it’s really, really hard for us.”

T&T sprint hurdler Mikel Thomas also threw his support behind Baptiste.

“I personally don’t know enough on the situation to truly speak on it. But I know Kelly as a person. She’s a great person, hard-working athlete, and I could only pray for the best for her.”