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Powell says will not retire, hopes to clear name

Jamaica's Asafa Powell looks at the scoreboard after running in the men's 100m final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Sta
Jamaica's Asafa Powell looks at the scoreboard after running in the men's 100m final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Sta

By Kayon Raynor

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell has no plans to retire despite a positive finding for a banned stimulant and hopes that tests of his B sample will clear his name, the Jamaican sprinter said on Tuesday.

"No, never thought about it," the 30-year-old said when asked in an interview with Reuters and local media if he was retiring.

"I was just shocked you know," he said of the positive test, "but never once thought about giving up."

The comments were the first by the sprinter since issuing a July 14 statement saying his A sample had returned "adverse findings" for the banned substance oxilophrine (methylsynephrine) at last month's national championships.

"At first I thought it was joke, you know, I thought I was being pranked!" Powell said. "Because that was the first something like that has ever happened; I was confused after and just in disbelief."

Powell, who held the 100m world record from 2005 until compatriot Usain Bolt broke it in 2008, said he had requested his B sample be tested and awaited the results.

"Should this sample return adverse results, my team and I hope that the hearings will happen as fast as possible so as to allow me to return to my team, to once again represent my country and to make my family, friends and fans proud," he said in a statement issued before the interview.

The statement said Powell had never knowingly taken any substances that could have given him an unfair advantage.

"All of our checks told us that the supplements were fit for consumption by professional athletes."

Powell was one of five Jamaicans to test positive at the championships. Both he and 2008 Olympic 100m joint silver medalist Sherone Simpson had adverse findings for the stimulant oxilophrine.

Simpson, who also participated in Tuesday's interview, said she too hoped to clear her name and to continue representing Jamaica.

"Retirement was not in my thoughts," she said.

Both Simpson and Powell declined to answer questions about trainer Chris Xuereb or the supplements they were taking prior to and after they started to work with the Canadian in May.

Xuereb has denied providing them performance-enhancing drugs and said the sprinters should take responsibility for their failed dope tests.

Powell said he continued to train almost daily.

"It's just very unfortunate that I won't be at the world championship," said the sprinter, who has been a member of two Jamaican world record 4x100 meters relay teams.

"But I'm still looking forward. There's a lot more to go... The world championship again in two years, and then the Olympic Games (in 2016)."

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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