Sport

Asafa Powell’s case to resume on February 12

Adjourned!

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014    

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AN agonising couple of weeks await former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell after his anti-doping hearing case was adjourned until February 12-13.

Just like Sherone Simpson's case, which will resume a week earlier, the scheduled two days of hearing was not adequate and will resume with Professor Wayne McLaughlin testifying mainly about the purpose and significance of oxilofrine.

Both athletes tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine at the Jamaica National Championships last June and have since identified the supplement, Epiphany D1, as the product that triggered their adverse analytical findings.

Yesterday's hearing got underway with Gregory Plummer, a close friend of Powell for 10 years, testifying that the runner had rigorously researched the supplement, Epiphany D1.

Plummer claimed he was just curious this time, as to how athletes do their research and basically assisted his friend in his Google search and perused the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

But when quizzed as to why he chose to assist or watch Powell research only the Epiphany D1 supplement from the nine that he got from Chris Xuereb, Plummer replied.

"The reason why that name stands out to me that much is because my girlfriend, her name is Tiffany...I can't forget it," replied Plummer.

But it was when Paul Doyle, the agent of both athletes, took the witness stand that fireworks began.

It was Doyle who recommended Canadian physical trainer Christopher Xuereb to Powell, which the defence is trying to prove started this chain of events.

The qualifications and credibility of Xuereb were severely scrutinised as Lackston Robinson, representing JADCO, introduced articles published in Canada that totally discredited Xuereb as not qualified, even as a physiotherapist.

The article, published on July 18, 2013 and written by Greg McArthur and Tu Thanh Ha, was read by Robinson. It quoted a spokeswoman for the Ontario College of Physiotherapists stating that Xuereb isn't even qualified to design a physiotherapy treatment plan in Ontario.

"He is not a doctor in Ontario. He is not registered as a chiropractor in Ontario. He is not a registered massage therapist in Ontario. He is not registered with the province's college of physiotherapists, the self-regulating body that ensures people who hold themselves out as physiotherapists have passed the necessary competency tests and have at least an undergraduate degree," the article stated.

But Doyle remained steadfast and insisted that although Xuereb is not certified he "was qualified to work on Asafa".

Another article introduced by Robinson also claimed that Xuereb was fired by Canadian physician Anthony Galea, who himself was later investigated and charged for giving athletes performance-enhancing drugs in 2011.

Doyle said he had no knowledge that Xuereb worked with Galea, but heard of the FBI case involving Galea.

Doyle reiterated that he hired Xuereb because he was highly recommended by a Dr Carmen Stillo.

"I did not do a formal background check," Doyle admitted under cross-examination from Robinson, saying Xuereb's employment was solely on recommendation and a trial period in Jamaica.

"What is Dr Stillo's occupation?" asked Robinson.

"He's a chiropractor," answered Doyle confidently.

Robinson continued: "Is Mr Xuereb a chiropractor?"

"Not to my knowledge," said Doyle.

"Is he a medical doctor?"

"No, he is not," Doyle replied.

"Is he a registered physiotherapist?"

"I do not know," said Doyle.

"Did you try to find out?" asked Robinson.

"No, I did not try to find out if he had any certifications. I just knew his practical experience," said Doyle.

Robinson also asked Doyle if he knew one Esther Akinsulie, and the agent replied no.

Jamaica Observer checks revealed that Akinsulie is a Canadian athlete who was suspended for six months for a banned diuretic early last year. The article by Tim Almanciak claimed that she was the girlfriend of Xuereb.

Doyle also revealed that Powell's former coach Stephen Francis was not pleased initially with the addition of Xuereb to MVP.

"He...what you would call it, kissed (hissed) his teeth and said, 'mi don't like Canadians'," said Doyle, while being questioned by Kwame Gordon.

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