Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Athletics: Powell in Italian doping probe


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 16 - Sprinter Asafa Powell, the former
100 metres world record holder, and fellow Jamaican athlete
Sherone Simpson are being probed by Italian prosecutors for
allegedly breaking Italy's anti-doping laws, along with a coach,
Christopher Xuereb.
Powell and Simpson were in Lignano Sabbiadoro in
northeastern Italy at a training camp when it emerged on Sunday
that they were among five athletes who had failed drugs tests at
Jamaican national championship in June.
Italian police raided the hotel rooms of Powell, Simpson
and Xuereb, a Canadian, on Monday and seized foreign medicines
and diet supplements as a precautionary measure.
Investigators are set to run tests to see whether the
material includes any banned substances.
Doping is a criminal offence in Italy.
The fact that Powell, Simpson and Xuereb are being probed
does not necessarily mean charges will be presented against
Powell and Simpson left Lignano on Tuesday, reportedly for
Jamaica, and Xuereb departed late on Monday.
All three were questioned by police before leaving.
The news of the Jamaican tests came on the same day that
it was announced world champion Tyson Gay of the United States
tested positive for a banned substance in May, leaving athletics
in a state of shock.
Both the samples of Powell, a part of the Jamaican team
that won the 4x100m relay gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,
and Simpson contained the banned amphetamine oxilofrine.
Powell and Simpson, who are set to miss next month's world
championships in Moscow, both belong to MVP track club, a rival
stable in Jamaica to the Racers club of six-time Olympic sprint
gold-medallist Usain Bolt.
Powell frequently trains in Italy and has a strong bond
with Italian fans.
One of his finest moments was when he took the 100m world
record down to 9.74 mark in September 2007 at an meeting in the
central Italian city of Rieti, before Bolt exploded on the
athletics scene.
His positive test came as a surprise as he has always
spoken out strongly against drugs use in the past.
He said in a statement that he had never knowingly taken a
performance-enhancing substance.
"My team has launched an internal investigation and we are
co-operating with the relevant agencies and law enforcement
authorities to discover how the substance got in my system," he
"I assure you we will find out how this substance passed
our rigorous internal checks and balances and design systems to
make sure it never happens again.
"My attitude towards doping regulations and testing is
well-known and I willingly give samples whenever requested.
"This result has left me completely devastated in many respects.
"I am reeling from this genuinely surprising result. "I
accept the consequences that come with this finding - after all
there is only one Asafa Powell.
"My fault here however is not cheating but instead not
being more vigilant.
"I want to reiterate that in my entire career as an athlete
I have never sought to enhance my performance with any
"It is not a part of who I am or what I believe in".

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