André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Former 100m record holder taken out of his bed
Jamaica's Asafa Powell, a 100 metres medal hopeful and former world record holder, was awakened from his sleep late last night for his third drug test in five days since arriving in the Olympic Village in London, compelling his agent Paul Doyle to question whether his athlete is being targeted by the officials.
Powell is said to be extremely frustrated by what Doyle labelled the "excessive and intrusive" testing, and despite underlining his support for the aggressive pursuit of drug cheats, the agent called for greater sensitivity towards athletes in general where this is concerned.
"I think it's excessive and it's intrusive," Doyle told The Gleaner shortly after Powell's third drug test late last night.
"He has been tested three times in the past few days. The first two were acceptable, far away from the competition at normal times of the day, but this last time they came and knocked on his door at 10:15 p.m. and woke him up from his sleep and brought down for drug testing again, less than 48 hours before he has to compete.
"We are all for doping control and we are all for the testing and I wish they will do more, but I also wish that they would be more sensitive to the athletes," Doyle reasoned.
HAD TO MISS TRAINING
"The only way we are going to clean up the sport is to be more aggressive with the testing and we are all for catching drug cheats, but at the same time we don't want it to interfere with an athlete's preparation."
Doyle added that the athlete has already had to miss training due to drug-test requirements, and that the athlete and his coach, Stephen Francis, were both upset about the situation.
"It's just been extremely excessive and very inconvenient to the point where he has had to miss training for the blood testing, and now he is missing sleep," Doyle fumed. "He was upset about the second one and now this third one is just appalling.
"We were there with him; once it happened he called me. I told him to stay in bed and make the blood tester sit outside with the door open so he could watch him while we went down and complained to the IOC (International Olympic Committee)."
Doyle recounted. "They (IOC) said that they are sorry and they apologised, but of course he had to give the test, and of course, he can't refuse to take the test."
Doyle, who has 35 other athletes under his management competing at the Olympic Games, shared that only one other athlete has mentioned being tested up to this point.
"It's just frustrating. His body will regenerate the blood they took in a matter of hours, but it, of course, weighs on his mind. He felt the other day after giving blood that he was too weak to train, but he will be fine come the day of competition. I just think it's terrible the way they are targeting the Jamaican athletes, possibly, and certainly Asafa," Doyle noted.
"I don't know if any of the other top athletes are being tested as much. We certainly hope so, but all we can say is how often Asafa is being tested and it's way more than anybody else. He must be the most-tested athlete in the world," Doyle added.
Powell will line up in the heats of the men's 100m tomorrow inside the London Olympic Stadium, where he is expected to mount a challenge for his first Olympic medal in the event.