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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine