Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell caught by dope tests

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The world of athletics suffered another dent to its credibility as top sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell both tested positive for prohibited substances. A month before the world championships, the extent of stimulant use has been exposed once more.

The American Gay is a three-time world champion and considered one of the likeliest challengers to the supremacy of Usain Bolt over 100 metres. He has the fastest time in the world for the sprint this year with 9.75 seconds. An out-of-competition test taken on May 16 produced a positive result for an unnamed banned substance. The athlete is awaiting the results of a follow-up B test, but has withdrawn from the world championships.

It's a humiliating discovery for an athlete who previously supported a US anti-doping initiative and said how proud he was to run clean. "I’ve always wanted a clean name with anything," Gay said after the revelations. "I don’t have a sabotage story. I don’t have any lies. I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’s hands, someone playing games. I don’t have any of those stories, I basically put my trust in someone and was let down."

The positive tests for Powell and fellow Jamaican sprinter Sherone Simpson may go some way to answering critics who suggest that the Jamaicans have been slow to develop effective testing. With five Jamaicans testing positive, there have been suggestions that the results are due to a new dietary supplement used by the group. Powell, a former world record holder, denied any wrongdoing. "I have never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules," he said. “I am not now, nor have I ever been, a cheat. The result has left me completely devastated".

Bolt now remains the predominant clean athlete in the sprinting world. His closest rival over 100 metres, the American Justin Gatlin, has previously tested positive and served a ban before returning to the sport.

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