Just weeks before the start of the World Championships in Moscow, athletics was engulfed in a spiralling drug crisis last night (Sunday) after it was disclosed that American Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, respectively the -fastest and third-fastest men in the world this year, had both tested positive for banned substances.
Word came Sunday that both of them had failed drug tests. ”A sad day,” one former track official called it – and certainly a day that punctured the myth that the oft-troubled sport has cleaned up its act.
”I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat,” Powell said in a message released through his Twitter account.
Gay, a triple world gold medallist in 2007, admitted that a urine sample he had provided in an out-of-competition drug test on May 16 had returned a positive result and that he was pulling out of next month’s World Championships in Moscow.
“I don’t have a sabotage story. I don’t have any lies,” said American Gay. “I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’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.”
Gay, who refused to give a name, said “Sometimes a human being naturally, generally, trusts somebody. That’s what people do.” Gay said his ”B” sample will be tested soon, possibly as early as this week, says Yahoo! Sports News.
Gay was healthy and running very fast again this summer – faster than Bolt – after being plagued by injuries and having a hip repaired. He won both the 100m and 200m at the American trials for the World Championships last month, setting up a showdown with Bolt in Moscow.
The 30-year-old Powell, whose 100-meter record of 9.74 stood until Usain Bolt beat it in 2008, was calling for an investigation as to how a stimulant called oxilofrine entered his system and caused a positive test at Jamaica’s national championships in June.
Powell, 30, protested his innocence and claimed: “I have never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules. I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat.” The failed tests overshadowed the three-day event in Birmingham for the Sainsbury’s British Championships.
Fellow Jamaican Sherone Simpson, a silver medallist in the women’s 4x100m relay at the 2012 London Olympics, also tested positive at the trials for the same substance as Powell, while there were unconfirmed media reports in Jamaica that a further two unnamed Jamaicans had returned adverse findings.
Simpson said she ”would not intentionally take an illegal substance of any form into my system.”
After the two athletes tested positive for banned stimulants, italian police have raided the hotel where Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson and their Canadian trainer are staying.
Udine police captain Antonio Pisapia said the rooms of the athletes and physical trainer Christopher Xuereb were searched and drugs and muscle supplements were seized, reports Globe and Mail.
Generally, first-time offenders are hit with two-year bans, though reduced penalties are sometimes given if there are extenuating circumstances, which both Gay and his coach, Lance Brauman, said there were.
Technically, he is not guilty of a doping offence until the process is complete, but Gay is clearly resigned to his fate after admitting he would not be competing in Moscow. ”I made a mistake,” he said.