11 September 2015

Jamaica’s Powell and Simpson reach out-of-court settlement

Jamaican athletes Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson have reached an out-of-court settlement with nutrition company Dynamic Life Nutrition LLC. Powell and Simpson both reportedly sued the nutrition company earlier this year after it was found that their positive tests for the banned stimulant oxilofrine were as a result of ingredients included in a product supplied by Dynamic Life Nutrition, but that were not listed on the label.

Both Simpson and Powell were suspended from athletics for 18 months by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) following a disciplinary hearing in May 2014. During in-competition testing at the JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association) National Senior Championships, the two athletes tested positive for oxilofrine, a ‘specified stimulant’ which is prohibited in-competition on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Prohibited List 2013.

The disciplinary panel accepted that the banned substance had entered the athletes’ bodies as a result of the ingestion of Epiphany D1, a supplement which they used as part of their training regime. The sprinters took the supplement on the recommendation of a physical trainer and stated that they both did ‘extensive checks’ of the listed ingredients in the supplement before ingesting it. At the time both were confident that it contained no banned substances.

Despite the disciplinary panel stating that both athletes failed to verify the exact sources of the supplements and ‘in all circumstances acted with fault and negligence’ their doping bans were reduced from 18 months to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July 2014. The CAS reportedly reduced the bans after finding that the positive results were a result of the athletes being unaware that the banned the stimulant was present in Epiphany D1.

The ruling by the CAS allowed the two athletes, both Olympic relay champions, to return to competitive racing immediately, as the ban had been backdated to begin in June 2013. Both athletes competed in the recently held 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.

Following the settlement, both athletes took to social media to express their relief at the outcome. “Thank u every1 for the love … on the settlement w/the supplement manufacturer,” tweeted Powell. He further wrote, “U can’t put a price on a reputation…I hve 2live w/the damage 4the rest of my life but it’s a small step on the long journey 2 vindication.” Simpson in turn tweeted, “God is awesome! A lot of damage was done, my team and I will continue to fight to repair my reputation. Thanks for all the support.”

According to Reuters, Epiphany D1 has since been placed on the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) high risk supplement list, warning athletes to avoid the product.

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