‘Trainer injected me’
Asafa reveals at anti-doping hearing
FORMER world 100m record holder Asafa Powell raised eyebrows when he testified to being administered injections by physical trainer Chris Xuereb for a hamstring injury, even as his defence tried to plead a case of mitigating circumstances during his anti-doping hearing at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday.
“Is it the norm for a person who is not a medical doctor to be administering injections?” asked Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission panel chairman, attorney Lennox Gayle.
“Sir, I have gotten the injection once before from the doctor in Germany and I never asked him for his credentials, so I wouldn't know if it is the norm for every physio to do this,” said Powell.
When quizzed by JADCO panellist Dr Jephathah Ford about the frequency of the injections and what were in them, Powell said he received about four injections.
“It was the same injection that Dr Muller- Wohlfahrt uses in Germany… these were anti-inflammatory after I just got the hamstring injury,” said Powell. “These injections were administered by Chris?” asked Dr Ford.
“Yes,” Powell said. As to the nature of what was injected, Powell said he was satisfied with his checks after witnessing Xuereb take the drug from a sealed box before administering at his house.
Powell, 31, who tested positive for oxilofrine at the National Championships last year, revealed he was given approximately nine supplements by Xuereb, but only submitted three names on the doping control form.
Epiphany D1 is the supplement that is said to have triggered his adverse analytical finding and although he took four capsules that morning of the National Championship, Powell said he didn’t remember taking that supplement.
“These are new supplements to me, I couldn't remember after that excitement at trials,” said Powell, who admitted to having done over 100 drug tests. The third JADCO committee member, Peter Prendergast, also chipped in on the doping control form, enquiring of Powell how long and how many tests he did in his career.
He asked if all the doping control forms in all those tests that he did over the years had the same questions, and Powell answered in the affirmative, “yes”. “Do you always answer the questions,” asked Prendergast, a former FIFA referee.
“Yes,” Powell replied. “But on this occasion, based on the euphoria at the trials you forgot some of these?” “Yes, I put what I remembered and I didn't remember most of them.”
Powell, along with Sherone Simpson, who also tested positive for oxilofrine, and had her hearing adjourned to February 4, noted that they experienced paranoia after the positive finding.
Just last week, Simpson revealed that upon her return to the island, she was so paranoid that she refused to accept anything from her family, including her mother. Powell said he is just as paranoid.
“I was just paranoid over everything that had happened. I just don't know who to trust, not even my own parents.
When I got back to Jamaica my mother was offering me orange juice and I was like, ‘no, I don't want it’,” said Powell.
Meanwhile, a lab report from Informed Choice Lab in Kentucky, which is said to have proven that oxilofrine was found in the supplement Epiphany D1, might not be in evidence due to the cost associated to provide it.
The Jamaica Observer could not ascertain the costs, but it is rumoured to be about US$2,000. Powell, who gave evidence yesterday morning, said he researched the product for approximately six hours and in conjunction with his agent Paul Doyle, they were satisfied it was a legal supplement.
Under cross-examination by Lackston Robinson, Powell admitted that he was not acquainted with the doping control rules, but he knew they existed. “Sir, in this sport there are persons who I have to rely on like my coach and my agent,” said Powell.
The sprinter, who turned professional in 2002, also admitted that he never attended a doping seminar and didn't know of any in Jamaica.
Robinson suggested that the athlete was negligent and that he executed improper procedure in researching the product prior to taking him through the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
“Do you agree by looking at the ingredients on the bottle and going on Google you may not be able to say whether or not the supplement had in any substance with similar chemical structure and biological effect, and you may not be able to tell?” “I am not a chemist, sir,” said Powell, softly.
“I know, that's why I said you may not be able to tell that,” reiterated Robinson.
“Well, I checked all I could check,” added Powell. “Therefore, you would need some assistance,” asserted Robinson. “And I did seek assistance,” Powell quickly replied.
Meanwhile, Simpson testified on behalf of Powell yesterday and agent Paul Doyle is expected to take the stand this morning on the second designated day of the hearing.