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Former world record holder Powell given 18-month ban

ESPN staff
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Asafa Powell can run again in December this year © Getty Images
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A Jamaican disciplinary panel on Thursday banned former 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell from athletics for 18 months after he tested positive for a banned stimulant last June.

In the sprinting powerhouse's capital of Kingston, a three-member panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission said its decision was unanimous.

"In all the circumstances, Mr Powell was found to be negligent, and he was at fault," said commission chairman Lennox Gayle, adding that the panel would issue a statement explaining its decision in about a month.

Powell: Ruling is unjust

  • After learning of his 18-month suspension, Asafa Powell released the following statement on his official website:
  • "This ruling is not only unfair, it is patently unjust. Panels such as these, I understood, were assembled to allow athletes who, consciously or unconsciously come into conflict with the rules of sport, a chance at equitable redemption. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
  • "As an athlete, I took a legal supplement - Ephiphany D1. As it turns out, that supplement was contaminated with oxilofrine. My team commissioned two private laboratories that confirmed that oxilofrine was present in the supplements, despite it not being listed as an ingredient on the bottle nor on its website.
  • "I would also like to share that upon realising that the supplement contained oxilofrine my team made contact with both The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) who not only ordered samples of the supplement from the manufacturer, but also tested and confirmed our findings.
  • "The USADA has also since issued a warning on their website for athletes to avoid the product as it contains banned substances.
  • "My team has begun preparations for an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
  • "I want to reiterate that I have never knowingly taken any banned substances, I did all the necessary checks before taking Ephiphany D1 and it is my hope that The CAS will prove to be a more open and fair avenue for the review of all the facts in my case; facts and truth that the were not taken into to consideration at my initial hearing."

Powell's ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21 2013 during national trials for the world championships. That means he is eligible to return to competition on December 20 this year.

The 31-year-old sprinter tested positive for banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica's national trials last June. He'd been suspended from competition since his doping case was disclosed in July. Once the top sprinter on the track, Powell lowered the world record in the 100m to 9.74 seconds in 2008 before being eclipsed by countryman Usain Bolt.

Like former team-mate Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist who tested positive for the same stimulant at the national trials in June, Powell had placed the blame on a newly-hired trainer who provided the two athletes with supplements.

When Powell's positive doping test came to light in July, he said he was "reeling from this genuinely surprising result." He denied ever being a "cheat."

During hearings earlier this year, Powell testified that he received nine supplements from Canadian physiotherapist Christopher Xuereb, including one called "Epiphany D1," which lab tests later found to contain oxilofrone. Powell said he started taking the capsules in early June after he and a friend researched the supplement for up to six hours online and found no prohibited substances.

But Xuereb has said he never gave Powell or Simpson any performance-enhancing drugs and only purchased major brand vitamins. In July, he asserted to The Associated Press that both athletes were looking for a scapegoat.

On the morning of the Jamaican trials, Powell said he took four capsules of Epiphany D1 at Xuereb's suggestion after previously taking two each morning. Powell ended up finishing in seventh place and failed to qualify for the world championships.

The sprinter, who turned professional in 2002, raised eyebrows during his testimony in January when he said he was not acquainted with doping control rules. He also testified that he did not tell a doping control officer about all the new supplements he had been ingesting, only listing three on his declaration form, because he could not remember their names amid the excitement of the Jamaican trials.

On Tuesday, Powell's former team-mate Simpson was banned until December 20 after testing positive for oxilofrone. Her 18-month ban also began from the sample collection date at Jamaica's national trials. She will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Jamaican disciplinary panel on Tuesday also issued a two-year ban for Olympic discus thrower Allison Randall, who is suspended until June 2015.

Earlier this year, Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown was cleared of doping on appeal by CAS. The full reasons for the three-time Olympic gold medalist's exoneration have not yet been released, but CAS said the ruling was based on faulty sample collection.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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