Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson denied knowingly taking any banned substances.

Paul Doyle, the agent for Jamaican sprint stars Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, said yesterday that both athletes hate drugs and “would not willingly take any form of drug.” Both athletes tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine following tests conducted at last month’s National Senior Championships but, in releases issued on Sunday, denied knowingly taking any banned substances.

In a telephone interview with STAR Sports yesterday Doyle said Sunday’s police raid on the hotel where the athletes are staying in Lignano, Italy, came after he and the athletes reported the matter to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“We (the athletes and the agent) informed WADA and they agreed and we set it up,” Doyle said when contacted in Italy.

After obtaining the necessary search warrant, Italian police arrived at the hotel on Sunday evening and reportedly searched the rooms of physical trainer Chris Xuereb and those of the athletes and removed all supplements and medicine.

Powell and Simpson, according to Doyle, were expecting the arrival of the police but kept the physio in the dark about it. Police said around 50 substances had been sent to a laboratory in Italy to test for the presence of performing enhancing drugs.

Under WADA’s ‘strict liability’ rule, athletes have a responsibility for what they put in their bodies.

Doyle explained that the physio has been working with Powell since May 8 when he came to Jamaica because of the former world record holder’s history of injuries. Powell, Doyle said, had been tested more than 150 times previously and had not returned a positive test before now.

He added: “He (Xuereb) was brought in for questioning,. I got a message from him afterwards, an angry message saying that he was detained for seven hours. He did say the word arrested but I don’t think he truly was arrested. But he was brought in and detained and questioned and held for about seven hours.”

Doyle says he has no reason to suspect any ‘mal-intent’ on the physio and that, like his athletes, he was probably unaware what the supplements contained.

Doyle said they had been looking for a trainer and Xuereb was hired just over two months ago.

“We have been looking for a physio. We needed somebody full-time and this guy was recommended to us. We hired him on May 8,” Doyle added.

Doyle admitted that he was devastated by the turn of events.

“We will be asking for the B samples to be tested. We have to make a decision within a week. I’m devastated.’ as I have always been outspoken against drugs and believe cheaters should be thrown in jail.”

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