Jamaican sprinter Powell gets 18-month ban for doping
KINGSTON, Jamaica — A Jamaican disciplinary panel on Thursday banned former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell from athletics for 18 months after he tested positive for a banned stimulant last June.
In the sprinting powerhouse’s capital of Kingston, a three-member panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission said its decision was unanimous.
"In all the circumstances, Mr. Powell was found to be negligent, and he was at fault," said commission chairman Lennox Gayle, adding that the panel would issue a statement explaining its decision in about a month.
Powell’s ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21, 2013 during national trials for the world championships. That means he’s eligible to return to competition on Dec. 20.
The 31-year-old sprinter tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica’s national trials last June. He’d been suspended from competition since his doping case was disclosed in July.
Once the top sprinter on the track, Powell lowered the world record in the 100 to 9.74 in 2008 before being eclipsed by countryman Usain Bolt.
Like former teammate Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist who tested positive for the same stimulant at the national trials in June, Powell had placed the blame on a newly-hired trainer who provided the two athletes with supplements.
When Powell’s positive doping test came to light in July, he said he was "reeling from this genuinely surprising result." He denied ever being a "cheat."
During hearings earlier this year, Powell testified that he received nine supplements from Canadian physiotherapist Christopher Xuereb, including one called "Epiphany D1," which lab tests later found to contain oxilofrone. Powell said he started taking the capsules in early June after he and a friend researched the supplement for up to six hours online and found no prohibited substances.
But Xuereb has said he never gave Powell or Simpson any performance-enhancing drugs and only purchased major brand vitamins. In July, he asserted to The Associated Press that both athletes were looking for a scapegoat. Xuereb once worked at the Toronto clinic run by Anthony Galea, a sports physician who pleaded guilty to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the U.S. for house calls.
On the morning of the Jamaican trials, Powell said he took four capsules of Epiphany D1 at Xuereb’s suggestion after previously taking two each morning. Powell ended up finishing in seventh place and failed to qualify for the world championships.
The sprinter, who turned professional in 2002, raised eyebrows during his testimony in January when he said he wasn’t acquainted with doping control rules. He also testified that he did not tell a doping control officer about all the new supplements he’d been ingesting, only listing three on his declaration form, because he couldn’t remember their names amid the excitement of the Jamaican trials.
On Tuesday, Powell’s former teammate Simpson was banned until Dec. 20 after testing positive for oxilofrone. Her 18-month ban also began from the sample collection date at Jamaica’s national trials. She will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The Jamaican disciplinary panel on Tuesday also issued a two-year ban for Olympic discus thrower Allison Randall, who is suspended until June 2015.
Earlier this year, Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown was cleared of doping on appeal by CAS. The three-time Olympic gold medalist’s exoneration was based on faulty sample collection.