Prosecutors in Italy have launched a criminal investigation into Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson and their Canadian trainer Christopher Xuereb.
Powell and Simpson have both tested positive for a banned stimulant and police raided their hotel in Ligano and removed substances for analysis.
Authorities in Udine are now investigating whether the trio have violated the law on doping. Italy is one of a few countries in the world that can impose criminal sanctions for doping offences on top of standard sporting sanctions.
Police confirmed they have seized some 50 boxes of tablets, ampoules, sprays and ointments — some of which are unlabelled.
Powell, 30, who has run the 100m in 9.88seconds this year but failed to make the Jamaican team for next month’s World Championships, was tested at the national trials in June and returned an adverse finding for oxilofrine (methylsynephrine), a stimulant that boosts fat-burning.
Simpson, 28, a three-time Olympic medallist, tested positive for the same substance.
Meanwhile, Powell’s official Twitter account posted a picture of an Italian legal document detailing the seizures and claimed the sprinter gave police just two substances: 50 capsules of the painkiller Aleve — which states it is “a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation” and a product called 5hr Energy (2fl oz), a caffeine-based “liquid energy shot”.
Powell’s agent Paul Doyle has blamed supplements provided by Xuereb, his new physical trainer, for the positive test, claiming the Canadian had provided Powell with a combination of around 20 supplements and injections, but none of them were on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.
“We were trying to figure out what went wrong and it was pretty obvious to us where we needed to look,” Doyle said yesterday.
“There are many different things he was giving them and we still don’t know which one caused the positive test. Most of the supplements he gave were for recovery or energy during workouts.”
The doping scandal coincided with a positive test for a so-far unknown substance by USA sprinter Tyson Gay, the fastest man in the world this year.
All the athletes are still awaiting the results of analysis of their B samples.
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