'Shocked' Powell vows to return

Asafa Powell emphasised his desire to return to athletics as he spoke for the first time about his failed drug test.

Athletics: Asafa Powell

The Jamaican sprinter, the former 100 metres world record holder, tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine at the national trials in June.

The 30-year-old is now waiting for the result of his B sample, which may yet clear his name, as athletics tries to recover from one of its biggest drug scandals.

"I have never thought about it (retiring)," Powell was quoted by the Jamaican Gleaner as telling a media conference in Kingston.

"I was just shocked by the news. I have been thinking a lot but never once thought about giving up.

"I am still training. I consider this an off year, but I am still working hard, training, going to the gym almost every day.

"It's very unfortunate that I will not be going to the World Championships, but there is a lot more to go.

"There is a World Championships in two years' time again and then the Olympics. So there is a lot to look forward to."

Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medallist and a member of Powell's MVP training group, also tested positive for the same stimulant.

The pair's manager, Paul Doyle, has pointed the finger of blame at their trainer, Canadian Chris Xuereb, who only began working with the sprinters in May.

Xeureb, though, issued a robust statement denying he was responsible and claiming he was being made a scapegoat.

A tearful Simpson appeared in front of the press alongside Powell today and said: "I would like to make it clear that we are not blaming anyone. We were asked if we were taking any new supplements, and we told the authorities where we got it from."

The news of Powell and Simpson's failed tests broke on the same day Tyson Gay, the fastest man in the world this year, admitted he had also tested positive for a banned substance.

In the wake of the revelations athletes past and present have called for tougher penalties for drug cheats, with Lord Coe, chairman of the British Olympic Association and vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, recently vowing to push for a four-year exile from the sport.

Speaking today at a press conference at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games, Coe said the fight against doping should focus not just on the athlete, but also their entourage.

"This is not just an issue focused on athletes," he said. "Let's get tough with physios, let's get tough with coaches, let's get tough with managers and agents, because they are all part of this landscape."



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