ROME – Italian police raided the hotel where Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson and a Canadian trainer were staying Monday after the two athletes tested positive for banned stimulants.
Rooms of the athletes and physical trainer Christopher Xuereb were searched and drugs and muscle supplements were seized, Udine police captain Antonio Pisapia told The Associated Press.
Pisapia said it was unclear if the drugs and muscle supplements were legal or illicit and that the substances were being analyzed.
“We are examining the substances now,” Pisapia said. “No arrests have been made and nobody has been placed under investigation.”
The raid took place at the Fra i Pini hotel in Lignano Sabbiadoro in northeastern Italy.
Powell, a former world-record holder at 100 metres, and Simpson tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine at the Jamaican championships last month, their agent announced Sunday.
The police captain with the specialized NAS unit added that Powell and Simpson were informed of the positive tests Saturday morning.
Xuereb didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment from The Canadian Press.
According to his Linked In profile, Xuereb is from Toronto and “coaches elite and Olympic athletes (past and present) from Canada, U.S.A. and the Caribbean.”
The profile says that Xuereb specializes in track and field and soccer and is also a speed/power coach, soft tissue massage and treatment specialist and health and nutritional adviser.
Under accomplishments, he lists 2009 World Track and Field and the “2012 Olympics (part of winning gold and silver medals).”
Monday’s raid came in stark contrast to the usual warm reception that the runners generally receive in Lignano, and the town’s mayor, Luca Fanotto, recommended “caution” before drawing conclusions.
“The Jamaican team has chosen the sports facilities of Lignano Sabbiadoro as their training base for years and they never forget to thank the city from podiums all over the world,” Fanotto said in a statement.
A local athletics meet is scheduled for Tuesday in Lignano and the Jamaicans had been scheduled to compete as they do most years. However, neither Powell nor Simpson were on start lists released Monday.
The news of the positive tests for Powell and Simpson came the same day that American 100-metre record holder Tyson Gay revealed that he also failed a doping test.
Powell was the last man to hold the 100-metre world record before Usain Bolt broke it in 2008. He also helped the Jamaicans to the 4×100-metre relay gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.
Simpson won Olympic gold in the women’s 4×100 relay in 2004 and silver in 2012, along with an individual silver in the 100 in 2008.
The doping positives come a month after another Jamaican Olympic champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown, tested positive for a banned diuretic.
- With files from The Canadian Press
© The Canadian Press, 2013