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Powell, Simpson Back on Track after 18-month Ban is Reduced

The Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) on Monday reduced an 18-month drug ban against Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson to six months, making them eligible to compete immediately instead of waiting until December 2014.

And both Powell and Simpson never skipped a beat; on Tuesday, they returned to the track in Lucerne, Switzerland less than race-ready, where they competed in the 100m dash and placed third and last, respectively.

The athletes were suspended in April by a seemingly ban-happy Jamaica anti-doping disciplinary panel after testing positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine. Although they said they had researched the product extensively, the panel claimed that the athletes were negligent.

However, the pair subsequently appealed to CAS to reduce the time to three months and argued their offense was minor because the positive results came from taking a contaminated version of Epiphany D1, a legal supplement.

The argument first prompted CAS to partially uphold the appeal, allowing them to return to competition with the possibility of having to serve the remaining time if their requests were denied. On Monday, CAS slashed the time to six months, which the sprinters already have served.

In responding to the news, Powell tweeted thanked the CAS and said: “Finally this weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Justice has been served. Now let’s run!”

Simpson also thanked the CAS, noting that: “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.”

Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission Ordered to Pay

In a ‘Jamaica Gleaner’ report Tuesday, writer Leighton Levy noted that the CAS also ruled that all costs associated with arbitration for its hearing, as well as additional monies in legal fees, are to be paid by Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission. The award is believed to be one of the largest in the history of CAS.

According to Levy, Paul Greene, the attorney who represented the athletes in their appeals, has accused the Disciplinary Panel of failing to properly adhere to and interpret the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code as it relates to sanctions.

“The Code,” he said, “requires that sanctions for athletes be harmonized in light of their degree of fault. Asafa and Sherone’s degree of fault, when compared to the athletes sanctioned before them, was at the low end of the 0-24 month range, under Article 10.4 of the Code.”

Powell, a former 100m world record holder who won a 2008 Olympic sprint relay gold medal, and Simpson, the 2006 Commonwealth 200m champion and 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist with Olympic gold and silver from the sprint relay, are not expected to compete at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because the Jamaican team was selected without them.

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