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CAS clearance - Powell, Simpson happy as sport's highest court grants stay of execution

Published:Thursday | June 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Asafa Powel (left)l and Sherone Simpson. - FILE

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

Former 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic 100-metre silver medallist Sherone Simpson have expressed delight at the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to apply a stay of execution on their respective 18-month drug bans, that allows them to compete for the first time in a year.

The appeal hearings for both athletes at the CAS have been set for July 7 and 8.

If the athletes are unsuccessful in their appeals, the CAS notes that they will be forced to serve out the remainder of their bans, which expire in December 2014.

"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld today (yesterday) the application for a stay of the execution of the suspension currently served by the Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, pending the resolution of the arbitration conducted before the CAS," its statement read.

"The athletes are free to compete from now on, but may have to serve the remaining part of their ban later, if the sanction is eventually confirmed by CAS."

The CAS statement continued: "Both athletes filed appeals at CAS against the decisions of the Jamaica Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel Tribunal of April 8 and 10, 2014 to suspend them for a period of 18 months, starting on June 21, 2013. The athletes put forward that the offence committed is minor and request that the suspensions be reduced to three months."

The stay of execution clears the way for the athletes to compete at meets, including the National Championships set for June 26-29, where Jamaica's team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, will be selected.

"Both Asafa and Sherone are elated," said Tara Playfair, Powell's publicist, in reaction to the news yesterday. "They are both back home and at the gym, continuing their preparation for any upcoming meets, and they are looking forward to seeing their fans.

"They are very grateful for the support they have received from their fans over the last 11 months," added Playfair.

This latest development comes just over a week after reports had surfaced that a deal had been brokered between the athletes' representatives, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Association of Athletics Federations to clear the way for Powell to receive a period of 18 months, starting on June 21, 2013. The athletes put forward that the offence committed is minor and request that the suspensions be reduced to three months."

The stay of execution clears the way for the athletes to compete at meets, including the National Championships set for June 26-29, where Jamaica's team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, will be selected.

"Both Asafa and Sherone are elated," said Tara Playfair, Powell's publicist, in reaction to the news yesterday. "They are both back home and at the gym, continuing their preparation for any upcoming meets, and they are looking forward to seeing their fans.

"They are very grateful for the support they have received from their fans over the last 11 months," added Playfair.

Reduced ban

This latest development comes just over a week after reports had surfaced that a deal had been brokered between the athletes' representatives, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Association of Athletics Federations to clear the way for Powell to receive a reduced ban, which would have allowed him to compete in a recent meet in the United States.

However, the deal required the blessing of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, which did not sign off on it.

Jamaica Anti-Doping Com-mission subsequently released a statement explaining that they could not have signed any document that would have allowed Powell to compete as the Commission's rules did not allow them to.

In reaction to yesterday's CAS ruling, general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, said the national body is bound by the ruling until the matter is finally resolved.

"All parties are bound by the CAS ruling. The JAAA is one of those parties, so we have no recourse but to abide by their ruling," said Gayle.