Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay both test positive for oxilofrine

High-profile sprinters are among six athletes to have failed drug tests in the space of 24 hours

Athletics suffered one of its darkest days on Sunday with the news that two of the world’s leading sprinters, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, were among six athletes to have tested positive for banned substances.

Gay, the one-time poster boy for clean athletics, revealed he was found to have an illegal product in his system in a drugs test in May, while Powell produced a positive sample for the banned stimulant oxilofrine during the Jamaican national trials.

Fellow sprinter Sherone Simpson, part of the gold medal-winning Jamaican relay team at the Athens Olympics and a silver medallist in the same event at the London Games last year, also announced in a statement that traces of the same substance had been found in her system during those trials last month.

A month out from the World Championships, the news casts a monstrous shadow over a sport already rocked by recent doping scandals emanating from Russia and Turkey.

News of Gay’s positive test, of which he was notified on Friday, is particularly galling. The American, who once signed up to Project Believe, a US Anti-Doping Agency initiative  paving the way for extra drug testing, boasted the fastest three times in the world this year, with a best of 9.75sec in June.

But it transpired that an out-of-competition test on 16 May had come back positive for an, as yet, unnamed illegal substance.

His B sample has yet to be tested but that could be done as early as this week. Regardless of the outcome, he has already said that he plans to withdraw from the World Championships, ruling out a potential showdown with Usain Bolt, the Olympic champion.

Gay, three times a world champion and the second-fastest man of all time, said: “My career and my name have always been better than medals or records or anything like that. I’ve always wanted a clean name with  anything. Unfortunately, I have to break this news, that I have a positive A sample.

“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 USADA’s hands, someone playing games. I don’t have any of those stories, I basically put my trust in someone and was let down.

“They [USADA] already know it is some type of accident... but I can’t discuss it right now. I’m going to be honest with USADA about everything, everybody I’ve been with, every supplement I’ve ever taken, every company I’ve ever dealt with, everything.

“I will take whatever punishment I get like a man. I do realise and respect what I put in my body and it is my responsibility.”

Gay has since been dropped by his sponsor's Adidas in response to the latest scandal to rock the sport.

As news of Gay’s positive test broke, fresh reports from Jamaica emanated almost immediately that five athletes in total – two throwers and three runners – had all tested positive at their national trials.

There was conjecture that the five positive tests – all thought to be for the same stimulant – were the result of a new dietary supplement, and that one of the athletes in question was considering legal action against the supplier.

Powell was the most high-profile name as one of the quickest men both this year and of all time, although he missed out on qualifying for the World Championships. But the 30-year-old insisted he was dumbfounded by the result.

“I have never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules,” he said. “I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat. The result has left me completely devastated. I am reeling from this genuinely surprising result.

“My fault is not cheating but instead not being more vigilant. I want to reiterate that in my entire career as an athlete I have never sought to enhance my performance with any substance. It is not a part of who I am or what I believe in.”

 



Like Gay, Powell insisted he would cooperate with the authorities and has launched an investigation, while Simpson said her team were already looking into how the positive test came about.

She added: “I would never intentionally take an illegal substance of any form into my system.”

Athletics had already been reeling from reports of wholesale doping in Turkey, which had led to suggestions the country could be banned from the World Championships, and suggestions of wrongdoing in an anti-doping laboratory in Russia. It is also just a month since the former Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic.

Yesterday’s news overshadowed events at the British Championships, which reached their conclusion in Birmingham. Among the event winners were James Ellington in the 200m, who had potentially been due to face Gay in that event at the World Championships.

“You have to take a serious attitude to what you put in your body,” said the Briton. “Being an athlete and competing, especially at international meets, representing your country, you need to be responsible for what you put in your body and you have to know what you are doing.”

The former 110m hurdler Colin Jackson described the news of Gay’s positive test, in particular, as “absolutely awful for the sport” but admitted his surprise at the announcement. “What’s very disappointing for me is that he’s a real global star,” he said. “It has a huge effect on the sport. You can imagine it takes away faith from the general public, which we are building nicely.

“It’s frustrating. We were believing that these guys running super-fast times were clean. The good side is at least our sport is still testing hard. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, if you’r e taking drugs, you will  get caught.”

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit