Sprint super star Usain Bolt has sent words of encouragement to Asafa Powell who is battling to clear his name after he was tested positive for a banned substance last month.
Bolt, speaking ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s IAAF Diamond League at the Sainsbury Anniversary Games, inside London’s Olympic Stadium, said he had communicated with Powell by way of text message since news broke of the failed drug tests.
“I had one BB (BlackBerry) conversation with him really. I didn’t want to bombard him with questions,” Bolt told reporters at a news conference Thursday.
“I told him, ‘Sorry to hear what was going on’, and he said, ‘Yes, it’s kind of rough, it’s hard. I just told him to stay strong and stay focused, and, hopefully, everything will work out.”
Powell, a former 100m world-record holder, countrywoman Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 100m silver medallist and three other Jamaicans tested at the National Senior Championships last month, returned adverse analytical findings.
Earlier this month, American Tyson Gay, the 2007 World Championships double sprint champion, admitted that he had failed a drug test, while Jamaican sprint queen Veronica Campbell-Brown, a few weeks earlier, was also confirmed to have returned a positive test for a banned substance.
“I don’t say much. They (positive tests) were surprising, definitely but there are a lot of details left to be discussed,” said Bolt.
“I’m just sitting and waiting on the results. There are a lot of things that haven’t been done yet”.
Powell and Simpson tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine, while throwers Allison Randall and Traves Smikle tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.
A fifth athlete, who has not been named officially, is also said to have tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide.
“In life you learn to be responsible. You have to be very careful as an athlete because there are a lot of things on the banned list,” said the double Olympic sprint champion and world-record holder.
“You have to keep up to date all the time. That’s why you need a team to help you keep up with all those type of things”.
Bolt will compete in the 100m at the Anniversary Games and is also pencilled in as a member of a Racers Track Club relay team, which is down to feature in a 4x100m relay during the two-day meet.