Sherone Simpson, Olympic sprint relay gold medalist, who tested positive for the banned substance Oxilofrine at her national trials in 2013, has received a ban of 18 months from a disciplinary panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission.
The disciplinary panel said Sherone Simpson had been negligent in all the circumstances. Simpson has vehemently denied doping accusations ever since reports of her positive test surfaced. The Jamaican athlete claimed she did not intentionally take the banned stimulant and blamed her positive test on a supplement provided by her Canadian trainer Chris Xuereb. Xuereb said the Jamaican sprinting star was clearly looking for a scapegoat.
After news of her positive test broke out, Simpson said she researched the Epiphany D1 supplement for close to 14 hours online before taking it and said nothing "raised a red flag or an alarm bell." She however admitted that she did not disclose the new supplement on doping control forms.
The 29-year-old Simpson will be ineligible to compete until December 20 this year, which means she will be ruled out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July. Simpson's agent Doyle said in a statement we feel that this ruling is incredibly unjust and we will be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport immediately. Doyle added Sherone took a legal supplement that was contaminated with Oxilofrine and two different labs that we commissioned to test the supplement both determined that Oxilofrine was present and that it was not declared on the label. Doyle went on to add that USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) ordered the supplement directly from the company and tested it themselves and confirmed the same and the anti-doping agency has posted a warning on their website warning athletes not to take the supplement because it contains banned substances that are not declared on the label.
Simpson's agent also said the athlete typically in such a case is given a punishment ranging from a public warning to three months of ineligibility. Doyle also said the fact that the panel has given 18 months suspension and have provided no explanation as to why is unacceptable in our opinion.
Lackston Robinson, JADCO's lawyer, pushed for the maximum suspension of two years and said he was not convinced that Epiphany D1 contained the substance Oxilofrine found in the sample of Sherone Simpson. Lackston also questioned the authenticity of the evidence provided by agent of the athlete. The chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, Lennox Gayle, while announcing the verdict said this panel having listened and reviewed all the evidence and listened to the detailed submissions of councils is unanimously of the view that Miss Simpson was negligent in all the circumstances as an elite athlete. Gayle added the period of ineligibility as such will be 18 months (to) commence from the date of the positive test on June 21, 2013.
In another development, Jamaican discus thrower Allison Randall received a suspension of two years by a separate Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel. The 25-year-old Randall tested positive for a banned diuretic at last year’s Jamaica National Championships. The ban on Randall starts from June 21, 2013 that is the sample collection date and the discus thrower is suspended until June 2015.