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Former record holder Powell tests positive

Asafa Powell of Jamaica runs on his way to winning his 100m heat round 1 during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August
Asafa Powell of Jamaica runs on his way to winning his 100m heat round 1 during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August

By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - Jamaica's former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell said on Sunday he had tested positive for a banned stimulant at last month's national championships.

"I will confirm that a sample I gave at the National Trials in June earlier this year has returned "adverse findings", Powell said in a statement to Reuters.

"The substance oxilophrine (methylsynephrine) was found, which is considered by the authorities to be a banned stimulant," the 30-year-old sprinter added.

"I want to be clear in saying to my family, friends, and most of all my fans worldwide that I have never knowingly or willfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules. I am not now, nor have I ever been a cheat."

Powell, who has never won an individual global sprint title, held the 100 world record between 2005 and 2008 when his then-best of 9.74 seconds was broken by current record holder and fellow-Jamaican Usain Bolt.

"This result has left me completely devastated in many respects," Powell said. "Professionally, this finding fully negates any possibility of me being a part of Jamaica's contingent of athletes competing at (the) world championships in Moscow later this summer."

Powell, who was battling injuries earlier this year, failed to qualify for next month's Moscow world championships, finishing seventh in the 100. He has since re-emerged as an elite sprinter, clocking 9.88 seconds earlier this month in Lausanne and raising speculation he could be added to Jamaica's 4x100 meters relay team.

Doyle said there was no intent by Powell to use banned substances.

"We are working with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) now on how it got in his system," he said by telephone.

Powell said he was "reeling from this genuinely surprising result".

"I accept the consequences that come with this finding —after all there is only one Asafa Powell," he said. "My fault here however is not cheating but instead not being more vigilant.

"I want to reiterate that in my entire career as an athlete I have never sought to enhance my performance with any substance. It is not a part of who I am or what I believe in."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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