Skip to content

Asafa Powell updates: under investigation in Italy

Jul 16, 2013, 6:30 AM EDT

Asafa Powell Getty Images

The circumstances of Tyson Gay‘s positive drug test, such as the specific banned substance and the person who “let him down,” have yet to surface, but another day brought more information surrounding Asafa Powell.

UPDATE: Italian authorities placed Powell, Jamaican teammate Sherone Simpson, who also tested positive, and trainer Chris Xuereb under investigation, according to The Associated Press.    

Prosecutors believe the trio violated Article 9 of the doping laws, which calls for punishment for whoever administers or consumes banned substances.

The Telegraph reported that the police raid on Powell and Simpson’s hotel in Lignano, Italy, was requested by Powell and Simpson.

An Italian police captain told the AP it was unclear if the seized substances were illegal, but they were being analyzed.

Powell’s publicist, Tara Playfair-Scott, posted on Powell’s Twitter account that Aleve and 5-Hour ENERGY were in Powell’s room and given to Italian police.

The Olympic medalist sprinters, who were made aware of positive drug tests Saturday and admitted them Sunday, contacted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and requested the raid, according to the newspaper.

After obtaining the necessary search warrant, Italian police arrived at the hotel on Sunday evening and searched the rooms of Powell, Simpson and Xeureb, before removing all supplements and medicines. Police said around 50 substances had been sent to a laboratory in Italy to test for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

The news made the front page of Italy’s leading sports daily newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, on Tuesday.

source:

Powell was the 100-meter world-record holder before Usain Bolt took it over in May 2008. Simpson was the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the women’s 100.

Powell and Simpson were previously scheduled to compete in a meet in Lignano on Tuesday, according to the AP, but their names were not on the start lists as of Tuesday morning.

They, along with Gay, could face two-year bans from competition, assuming their “B’ samples don’t produce different results. However, suspensions have been reduced for athletes who make a strong case they unknowingly took supplements with banned substances.

Powell and Simpson’s agent and a coach with their Jamaica track club, MVP, blamed Xuereb for the banned stimulant oxilofrine showing up on tests at the Jamaican national championships last month.

“Once we knew of the positive test, we realized that Asafa and Sherone were the only two athletes in the group who had been given new supplements by this physio that they are working with,” their agent, Paul Doyle, told the Telegraph. “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.”

Doyle hired Xeureb in May to treat Powell for his persistent health issues, which flared up when he injured his hamstring in Australia in March.

“He’d been highly recommended by some other athletes who had worked with him and had no shadiness in his past that we knew of,” he said. According to Doyle, Powell was put on more than a dozen different supplements by Xeureb but the labels were all checked in advance and none of the ingredients were on the banned list.

The MVP track club coach, Stephen Francis, said in an interview with a Jamaican radio station that Xuereb is renown with dark issues in the sport, according to the radio station’s Twitter account.

The New York Times reported Xuereb injected Powell with a drug used by Lance Armstrong‘s U.S. Postal Service cycling team.

Powell’s mother, Cislyn, told the Jamaica Gleaner that her son “is not a fool.”

“This is like a recitation,” she said. “I always say to him, ‘Don’t even trust yourself. Don’t take anything from anybody. Don’t eat from anyone.’ I really feel it from my heart, but still I put my trust in him that he would not have done that. It must be something that went wrong.”

During a recent visit to his parents’ home on Father’s Day, Mrs Powell said Asafa assured her: “Mama, I wouldn’t do anything like that.”

“I don’t believe that he went and buy it and take it like that,” Powell’s father, William, told the newspaper. “Somebody must be responsible for giving him that, and the person that give him must know that it is a banned substance. … That person mash up Asafa future.”

The Guardian detailed the benefits of the drug that Powell and Simpson tested positive for. Both sprinters denied knowingly taking oxilofrine through statements Sunday.

Oxilofrine “is a stimulant used to boost the body’s ability to burn fat,” the British newspaper wrote.

The substance helps athletes boost their power-to-weight ratio with more lean muscle and less fat, and so increase their speed.  …

The stimulant in question may also increase the rate at which the heart reaches its maximum performance during exercise, meaning a greater supply of oxygen can get to the muscles earlier.

The newspaper reported cyclists, runners and football and rugby players have been banned for using oxilofrine in the last three years.

Oxilofrine is an agent that stimulates part of the nervous system and was previously used to treat low blood pressure. More recently, it has started to appear in combination with caffeine in dietary supplements marketed as weight loss products.

However, the superiority of using oxilofrine over an exercise warm-up to achieve this appears unconvincing.

Ato Boldon: Impact of Gay, Powell on Bolt, track and field

Latest Posts
  1. Watch Drake Relays, Penn Relays on NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:51 PM EDT

    Justin Gatlin Getty Images

    Several Olympic champions are in the fields at the two meets.

  2. Michael Phelps to move to Arizona with coach Bob Bowman

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:50 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps has followed Bowman to an NCAA stop before.

  3. Simone Biles discusses Martha Karolyi’s team selfie, U.S. teammates, more

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Biles is in the middle of a four-month break from competition.

  4. Sled hockey helps Josh Sweeney in his recovery (video)

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Josh Sweeney Getty Images

    Sweeney and Team USA begin World Championship play Sunday.

  5. Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir headed to White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Kentucky Derby

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT

    Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski Getty Images

    NBC’s figure skating analysts will be visible daily during Kentucky Derby week.

  6. New MLB commissioner wants long-term baseball pledge from Olympics

    Apr 23, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    AP AP

    But he also shares the sentiment of Bud Selig on MLB participation.

  7. Doug E. Doug reflects on ‘Cool Runnings’

    Apr 23, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    Doug E. Doug Getty Images

    Doug wasn’t allowed to bobsled while filming, but he recently took his first run.

  8. Meb Keflezighi hopes to be an example for Ryan Hall as Olympic trials approach

    Apr 23, 2015, 12:29 PM EDT

    AP AP

    “It depends who you ask,” Keflezighi said of the U.S. Olympic Trials favorite.

  9. U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials to return to Iowa City

    Apr 23, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT

    Jordan Burroughs Getty Images

    Two Olympic champions appear headed for a second Olympics, while a World champion seeks a first Olympic berth.

  10. Paul Wylie ‘resting comfortably’ after heart problem

    Apr 22, 2015, 3:12 PM EDT

    Paul Wylie Getty Images

    Wylie had a “heart abnormality while exercising,” his wife said.

  11. Nadia Comaneci: Simone Biles’ difficulty is almost equal to men

    Apr 22, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Nadia Comaneci Getty Images

    Comaneci, the subject of a Katie Holmes-directed documentary, discussed current gymnastics topics.

  12. Larry Bird, David Ortiz among Boston 2024 board of directors

    Apr 22, 2015, 12:21 PM EDT

    Larry Bird Getty Images

    U.S. Olympic marathon and figure skating medalists are also in the group.

  13. Ten sports where Brazil can win medals at Rio 2016

    Apr 22, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

    Arthur Zanetti Getty Images

    Included are some potential U.S.-Brazil duels.

  14. Sweden mulls 2026 Winter Olympic bid

    Apr 22, 2015, 9:11 AM EDT

    Sweden Getty Images

    Sweden scrapped a bid for 2022, and a joint Norway-Sweden bid has also been proposed.

  15. Figure skaters recall odd gifts from fans

    Apr 21, 2015, 3:51 PM EDT

    Figure skating gifts Getty Images

    Michelle Kwan, Meryl Davis, Evan Lysacek and more Olympians tell their memorable stories.

  16. Runner finishes Boston Marathon on Tuesday morning

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Maickel Melamed

    The inspirational Maickel Melamed needed 20 hours to finish.

  17. True St. Louis Marathon winner breaks tape at Busch Stadium (video)

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Andrea Karl didn’t break the tape on marathon day because another runner jumped on the course late in the race.

  18. French Swimming Federation official refutes Amaury Leveaux’s claim

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:03 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Leveaux said in a book that team members used cocaine.