Chinese Company Suspends Deal With Jamaican Sprinter

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Jamaican Oylmpian Asafa Powell.
News Americas, LONDON, England, Fri. July 19, 2013: Leading Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning has suspended its sponsorship deal with Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell for now, on the heels of a failed drug test.

“The company will be following the incident closely and has suspended its sponsorship with Powell pending the outcome of the investigations,” Li Ning said in an e-mailed statement.
Li Ning added that if Powell “is found to be involved in the use of banned stimulants” the company will immediately terminate its sponsorship contract with Powell.

Powell, formerly the world’s fastest man, told Reuters last week that he had tested positive for a banned stimulant at the Jamaican national trials last month.

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His Canadian-born coach, Chris Xuereb, has denied that he had provided any banned or illegal substances to Powell or team mate, Sherone Simpson.

He further said that although he did recommend vitamins, they were all purchased over the counter at reputable nutritional stores.

Xuereb has been accused of wrongdoing by Powell’s agent Paul Doyle after the sprinter and three-times Olympic medallist Sherone Simpson both tested positive for the same banned stimulant oxilofrine, the Guardian reports.

Xuereb only began working with the sprinters in May.

Powell, insists he is no cheat.

The runner, whose hotel at the Fra i Pini hotel in Lignano Sabbiadoro in northeastern Italy was raided by Italian police there on Monday, July 15th after requests from WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, took to Twitter to insist he has never knowingly took banned substances.

“I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat,” he posted.

Powell has called for an investigation as to how the oxilofrine [methylsynephrine] could have entered his system. The drug is considered by the authorities to be a banned stimulant.

Meanwhile, American Tyson Gay, a triple world gold medalist in 2007, admitted Sunday that a urine sample he had provided in an out-of-competition drug test on May 16th had returned a positive result and that he was pulling out of next month’s World Championships in Moscow.