Jamaican sprint star, Asafa Powell, tested positive for the innocuous banned substance, Oxilofrint, after taking on new trainer, Christopher Xuereb of Canada and has been given an 18-month retroactive ban by the Jamaican government. This was the first time in Powell’s 13-year career that a test came back positive for a banned substance. Previously, Powell was drug tested 150 times and each test result was clean. It is clear Xuereb is the problem.
Since the time of the announcement, regarding Powell’s hotel room and that of fellow sprinter, Sherone Simpson, being raided by police in Italy over the positive test, a number of facts have emerged in the case. For example, Xuereb's girlfriend, sprinter Esther Akinsulie, tested positive for a banned substance and was given a six-month ban in Canada. Xuereb was also a lesser known worker in a lab whose supplements created positive tests for U.S. track stars.
The banned substance found in the drug Epiphany that Xuereb gave Powell and teammate Simpson, also did not enhance their performance, as stated by a scientist under oath. It is a substance commonly found in high blood pressure medication.
Powell testified he trusted Xuereb, but after the positive drug test found out the supplements he gave him, Epiphany, contained Oxilofrint, while the Epiphany from the drug company’s website did not contain Oxilofrint. Lab tests revealed this fact. Epiphany is advertised online as safe, so any due diligence done regarding research on the drug would turn up nothing illegal, banned or sinister.
However, lawyers assert, as subsequent lab tests revealed, the Epiphany tablets Powell and Simpson were given was tampered with by Xuereb. Epiphany is advertised online as safe, so any due diligence regarding the drug would turn up nothing illegal, banned or sinister.
I find it hard to believe that Powell and Simpson, who’ve been clean for well over a decade, would take a banned substance all of a sudden and on the day of the national championships when they knew they would be tested. I was informed by a credible source, “They did not know the extent of what they were taking” due to Xuereb having deceived them regarding the true contents of the supplements lawyers publicly allege the new trainer had tampered with.
Why would these athletes wait until so late in their careers to start doping up and on a day they knew they would be drug tested for track trails to qualify for the national team (neither qualified, attesting to the fact Oxilofrint does nothing to aid the performance of sprinters).
As the ban is retroactive, this means 31-year-old Powell will only be ineligible for another few months. However, he should work to publicly clarify the misconceptions surrounding the case, where he and Simpson were unfairly sabotaged. Xuereb should be held legally accountable for his harmful actions. Any trainer or medical adviser that provides an athlete with tainted substances should face prosecution under the law.
In short, athletes in all sports need to be careful regarding who they trust, the supplements they are given and where they eat. Not everyone is your friend. Some have terrible motives based in bribery, money and malice.