Jamaican track stars, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson can now resume their track careers after drug-related bans levied against the former Olympic medal-winning sprinters were reduced on Monday following a successfully filed appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Powell and Simpson each received 18-month bans by a Jamaican anti-doping disciplinary panel after testing positive for the banned substance, oxilofrine last summer at Jamaica’s national trials. Both athletes put forward appeals that their respective suspensions be reduced to three month. The appeals were partially upheld, with each ban being cut to six months by the CAS, retroactive to June 2013, meaning both suspensions would have already been served.
The ruling was made after arguments were put forward that the duo did not ingest the banned substance intentionally, after a supplement they were both taking, Epiphany D1 was contaminated.
"The CAS decided to reduce their period of ineligibility to six months, which has been already served,” the CAS said in a statement, saying it will give full reason for its ruling in the coming weeks.
In a joint statement, Powell and Simpson expressed their relief at the decision.
""I never felt that I should not have received a sanction,” Powell, a part of Jamaica's gold-medal winning 4 by 100m relay team at the 2008 Olympic Games, said. “I always felt that the 18 months was not in line with a first time positive test result and it being proven it came from a tainted supplement.”
Simpson, a joint-silver medalist at the 100m in the same summer games, added, “I feel total relief and that we have finally been vindicated. We both knew that we had done all we could to ensure the supplement was ok before taking it … our actions were not intentional and CAS has recognized that. I am truly thankful.”
Powell, who turns 32 this November, later confirmed, via his official Twitter page, that he would return to the track on Tuesday at a meet in Lucerne, Switzerland. Neither, however, be eligible to compete in the Commonwealth Games, set to kick off in Glasgow, Scotland next week as Jamaica’s team for the competition has long been selected.