Powell's agent blames physio

2013-07-16 12:44
Asafa Powell (Gallo)

Washington - Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell and his team-mate Sherone Simpson are blaming their new physiotherapist after they tested positive for a banned stimulant, Britain's Daily Telegraph said on Tueday, quoting the athletes' manager.

Both athletes have pointed to contaminated food supplements as the reason why they failed the tests, which have cast a cloud over the build-up to the athletics world championships in Moscow next month and put sprinting in the spotlight.

The daily quoted Paul Doyle as saying in an interview that both Powell and Simpson had only recently begun working with Canadian physio Chris Xuereb at his base in northern Italy.

US-based Doyle said he had no reason to suspect "mal-intent" on Xuereb's part and that, like the athletes, he was probably unaware of what exactly what the supplements contained.

Both athletes tested positive for oxilofrine at the Jamaican championships last month.

Italian police reportedly brought Xuereb in for questioning and raided his base on Monday, although the country's news agency ANSA said no arrest had been made.

"Asafa and Sherone have been working with WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) to arrange this police raid, so to speak," he was quoted as saying.

"Once we knew of the positive test, we realised that Asafa and Sherone were the only two athletes in the group who had been given new supplements by this phsyio that they are working with.

"Asafa's had probably 150 to 200 clear tests in the past. He starts working with a new physio who gives him new supplements and all of a sudden he has a positive test in his first test.

"It's obvious there's no other reason why he would have tested positive other than something being in the new supplements he's been taking.

"So we immediately asked WADA to get the police there to go in and search everything in the physio's possession as well as everything in Asafa and Sherone's possession."

Xuereb began treating Powell for a hamstring injury that flared up in March this year, according to Doyle.

He added that Xuereb gave Powell 17 supplements, three of which were administered by injection, and all were legal, he added.

Simpson checked whether any of the supplements contained proscribed substances, although did not seek independent medical verification, Doyle said.

He also accepted that Powell had not informed his coach, Stephen Francis, about the supplements.

ANSA on Tuesday said both Powell and Simpson had left Italy, quoting sources closes to the investigation.

Powell, a 4x100m relay gold medallist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is one of the four fastest men over 100m in history

News of his positive test emerged on Sunday with a separate positive test for US sprinter Tyson Gay.

Simpson won gold for Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and silver in the event last year in London. She also won 100m silver in Beijing.

Read more on:    asafa powell  |  sherone simpson  |  athletics

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