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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital