Stephen Francis, the coach of Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson (both of whom had to withdraw from the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Moscow due to failed doping tests), defended the two runners to the media today.
It came as a big surprise, I think, to them. Asafa has been somebody who doesn’t use that kind of stuff. Over the 10 years I have coached him we have had great difficulty getting him to take basic stuff like protein, like vitamins.
It has been a dark week for fans of track and field. Not only did Powell, a former world record-holder in the 100 meters, and Simpson, a silver medalist in the 4×100 meters relay, test positive for oxliofrine, but Jamaican discuss thrower Allison Randall tested positive for a banned diuretic, too. All this is on the heels of American sprinter Tyson Gay also withdrawing from the championships due to a positive drug test.
Francis also spoke about the issue on Monday in an interview on Jamaican radio station HITZ 92, blaming the doping on Canadian trainer Christopher Xuereb. Xereub, along with Powell and Simpson, was formally placed under investigation for violating Italy’s drug laws after a hotel-raid that turned up as-yet unidentified substances.