• Athletics

Simpson: I am not a drugs cheat

ESPN staff
January 8, 2014
Sherone Simpson was one of six Jamaican athletes to test positive for a banned substance in 2013 © AP

Sprinter Sherone Simpson has told a Jamaican disciplinary panel she did not intentionally take a banned substance.

In 2013, Simpson was one of six Jamaican athletes to test positive for a prohibited substance in a doping scandal which rocked the nation, and one of five to fail a test at the national championships in Kingston last June. Both Simpson and training partner Asafa Powell, the former 100 metres world record holder, tested positive for the same stimulant - oxilofrine.

The country's most senior drug tester Dr Paul Wright claimed the findings could be just the "tip of the iceberg", while the scandal also caused the entire board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) to resign.

However, Simpson believes the positive test came from taking a supplement provided by her trainer, Christopher Xuereb, and told the panel: "Nothing I read raised a red flag or an alarm bell.

"I trusted Chris. I invited Chris into my very small circle.''

Simpson, who won 4x100m relay silver at the London 2012 Olympics, claimed one of six supplements provided by Xuereb was responsible for her positive test, but accepted that she did not disclose "Epiphany D1" on doping control forms despite having extensively researched the substance.

Simpson told the panel of how she found out about the positive test while on a training camp in Italy in July. She phoned her agent Paul Doyle, who also represents Powell, before a raid was conducted on their hotel and supplements were seized.

Xuereb denies giving both Simpson and Powell any performance-enhancing substances and claimed in July that both athletes were looking for a "scapegoat."

The hearing is expected to last two days, while Powell and Doyle will also undergo hearings this week.

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