TOUGH TEST: "I am not now -- nor have I ever been -- a cheat."
Jamaicans everywhere, particularly track-and-field watchers, are grappling with the bad news that sprinter Asafa Powell has tested positive for a banned substance and will not be able to represent Team Jamaica in any capacity at the upcoming Moscow World Championships in Russia next month. Four other Jamaican athletes have also returned positive tests, according to reports.
"I will confirm that a sample I gave at the National Trials in June has returned "adverse findings"," Powell, 30, said in a statement on Sunday. "The substance oxilofrine (methylsynephrine) was found, which is considered by the authorities to be a banned stimulant."
The former 100M world record holder (dubbed the sub-10 king), who is presently overseas, staunchly declares his innocence of any wilful wrongdoing. "I want to be clear in saying to my family, friends and, most of all, my fans, that I have never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules. I am not now -- nor have I ever been -- a cheat."
Meantime, Powell's publicist Tara Playfair has since noted via social networking site Twitter that a serious investigation into the matter has commenced. "The individual who gave Asafa the supplements' room has now been raided," Playfair told Powell's thousands of followers. "He has been detained by Italian Law Enforcement in conjunction with this matter. The investigations continue."
Quite unfortunately, sprinter Sherone Simpson and the American Tyson Gay have also withdrawn from the Moscow Championships due to positive drug tests.