Day of shame - Powell, Simpson, Gay, others test positive
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
THE LOCAL and international athletics fraternity was yesterday thrown into a tailspin by the revelation that five Jamaicans, including former world record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic 100m silver medallist Sherone Simpson, have tested positive for banned substances.
News surfaced of the positive findings just minutes after it was revealed that American star and 2007 double World Championships gold medallist Tyson Gay had also failed a drug test, in a day of shame for a sport which is yet to gain general trust following several high-profile doping cases over the years.
It also comes just under a month before the start of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, and cast further doubt over the sport's credibility.
Powell and Simpson, who both tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine at the National Senior Championships last month, yesterday confirmed the positive findings and denied knowingly taking any banned substance through releases.
Throwers Traves Smikle and Allison Randall are the other Jamaican athletes confirmedby sources at this point.
"I want to be clear in saying to my family, friends and, most of all, my fans worldwide that I have never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules," Powell said in a statement yesterday.
Coming just a month after Veronica Campbell-Brown's positive drug test, this latest incident is a major blow to the sport with Powell being one of the most marketable athletes on the international circuit.
"I am reeling from this genuinely surprising result. I am confident, however, that I will come out stronger, wiser and better prepared for the many twists and turns of being a professional athlete," Powell added. "I want to reiterate that in my entire career as an athlete, I have never sought to enhance my performances with any substance. It is not part of who I am or what I believe in."
Simpson was apologetic in her denials of any intentional use of the banned substance and vowed to fight to clear her name.
"This is a very difficult time for me. As an athlete, I know I am responsible for whatever goes into my body," said Simpson, also through a release.
"I would not intentionally take an illegal substance of any form into my system. I want to sincerely say to my family (especially my parents, grandparents and siblings), Paul Doyle (agent), MVP track club, fellow athletes, former sponsors and the rest of Jamaica that l am deeply sorry for any hurt or embarrassment this positive test may cause, and my team and I will do everything we can to get this issue dealt with as best as we can," Simpson's statement continued.
Both athletes are expected to have their 'B' samples tested soon.
Meanwhile, Gay revealed that he had failed a drug test and that he will miss this year's World Championships, but also denied any ill intent.
"I don't have a sabotage story. I don't have any lies. I don't have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on US Anti-Doping Agency's hands, someone playing games. I don't have any of those stories. I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down," said Gay.