André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
"I have never considered quitting." That was the message from embattled Jamaican sprinting standouts Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson as they sat before a specially selected media conference, for the first time, since they both tested positive for banned stimulant Oxilofrine at the Jamaican trials.
Powell, the former 100 metres world record holder, sporting a blue shirt and khaki slacks, spoke of the emotional turmoil experienced since his June 21 positive test but made it clear that he was committed to putting everything into clearing his name and prolonging his career, which has yielded almost 90 sub-10 seconds clockings and two bronze medals at the IAAF World Championships.
"I have never thought about it (retiring). I was just shocked by the news. I have been thinking a lot but never once thought about giving up," said Powell, who was in his hotel room at his MVP Track Club's camp in Italy when he was informed of the test results.
"I am still training. I consider this an off year, but I am still working hard, training, going to the gym almost every day. It's very unfortunate that I will not be going to the World Championships, but there is a lot more to go. There is a World Championships, in two years time again and then the Olympics. So there is a lot to look forward to," said the 30-year-old.
Simpson, 28, had to fight back the tears as she shared her experiences since her 'A' sample returned the adverse analytical finding. She also underlined that she had no interest in pointing fingers at anyone.
Simpson still young
"For me, no retirement; it was not in my thoughts. I do think that I am still pretty young. I have a few years to go, and I will continue," said Simpson in the presence of attorneys Milton Samuda, Kwame Gordon, MVP Track Club President Bruce James, and publicist Tara Playfair Scott at the New Kingston offices of Samuda and Johnson.
"I was shocked! I got the call about 1:30 a.m. in Madrid and I could not believe it! I had to ask Dr (Herb) Elliott (chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission) if he was sure that he had the right name. To be honest, I cannot remember what happened after that," said Simpson.
"I would like to make it clear that we are not blaming anyone. We were asked if we were taking any new supplements, and we told the authorities where we got it from," Simpson, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 100m silver medallist, added before breaking down in tears.
Powell, the fourth-fastest man in history, thanked his fans for their support.
"I want to thank God for sparing my life, and I want to apologise to my family, my friends, fans, and supporters for all that has been going on," Powell said.
"I could not have done it on my own. My family has been great support for me. They have been there since the finding and also my team-mates. They have supported me a lot as well. I have been getting a lot of calls as well. I have been getting messages a lot - every day. And, of course, my fans! They have been tweeting like crazy and showing some love," Powell said.
Powell and Simpson were among five Jamaicans to test positive for banned substances at last month's National Senior Championships at the National Stadium.