• Athletics

Powell faces ban after positive B sample

ESPN staff
September 7, 2013
Asafa Powell tested positive at the Jamaican national trials in June © Getty Images

Asafa Powell is among five Jamaican athletes whose B samples have come back positive.

Powell, the former 100m world record holder, tested positive for oxilofrine at the Jamaican national trials in June along with Olympic medallist Sherone Simpson. Discus throwers Allison Randall and Travis Smikle as well as a junior athlete also failed doping tests.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) said the athletes' second samples were tested at a Montreal lab accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It says all five athletes have been notified and the findings will be passed on to the Jamaican Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel so hearings can be scheduled.

Paul Doyle, Powell and Simpson's agent, did not comment. The trio have focused their blame on a new physical trainer, Christopher Xuereb of Canada, saying supplements he provided caused the positive tests.

However, Xuereb has said he did not give the sprinters performance-enhancing drugs and suggested he was a scapegoat.

Powell was the last man to hold the 100m world record before team-mate Usain Bolt broke it in 2008. He also helped the island win the 400m relay gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Simpson won Olympic gold in the women's 400m relay in 2004 and silver in 2012, along with silver in the 100m in 2008.

The duo and trainer Xuereb were formally placed under criminal investigation in Italy following a hotel raid in July in the northern resort town of Lignano Sabbidadora, where the Jamaicans have been training for years.

This week, an Italian prosecutor said their criminal doping investigation has been delayed because they have been unable to contact the athletes to ask whether they wish to observe the testing of substances taken during the police raid.

Meanwhile, a Jamaican disciplinary panel is deliberating a verdict after a four-day closed-door hearing on a positive test by another marquee sprinter, three-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown.

The 31-year-old is the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m champion. She also won gold in the 4x100m relay at Athens. In London, she won bronze in the 100m and silver as part of the 4x100m relay team. She was suspended from competition in June after testing positive for a banned diuretic at a meet in May in Jamaica, according to a top Jamaican anti-doping official.

But the doping case involving Campbell-Brown appears to involve a "lesser" offense of unintentional use of a banned substance, an IAAF spokesman said in June.

The doping positives of three of the island's sprinting stars have staggered many in Jamaica, where track athletes are beloved and global domination in sprinting is a huge source of national pride.

Last month, Renee Anne Shirley, the former executive of JADCO, made waves in Jamaica after revealing a number of "troubling" problems during her brief tenure as the organisation's top official. She disclosed that the commission did not have the staff to carry out rigorous anti-doping programmes and that just one out-of-competition test was done between February 2012 and the start of the London Olympics five months later.

JADCO has responded defensively, saying it has viewed with "deep concern the utterances by various persons in the public sphere in their attempt to discredit the work of JADCO, its commissioners, the government of Jamaica and the success of Jamaican athletes."

Since starting testing in May 2009, JADCO says it has conducted 876 tests - 504 in-competition and 272 out-of-competition.

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Extracts from this piece originally appeared on ESPN.com

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