Powell makes third-place return at Lucerne meet

Powell makes third-place return at Lucerne meet
Sprinter Asafa Powell returned to action in Lucerne after a doping ban. Photo: Vinod Divakaran
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell wasted no time getting back into the thick of the action a day after his doping ban was reduced, running a modest 10.30 seconds in the 100m at the Lucerne meeting on Tuesday.

Powell, who along with fellow Jamaican Sherone Simpson was told on Monday the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) had cleared him to run again, finished third behind compatriot Julian Forte, who won in 10.23, and Antoine Adams of St Kitts and Nevis, second in 10.29.

The former world record holder, who is still the fourth fastest man in history, was suspended for 18 months but the ban was reduced to six months on appeal, leaving him free to compete immediately, the CAS ruled.

“It’s great to be back,” Powell told the media. “I have been under a lot of stress and pressure these last few months.”

He and Simpson were suspended by a Jamaica anti-doping disciplinary panel after testing positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine, which they claimed had been taken in a contaminated food supplement.
They appealed to CAS to have their bans reduced to three months and the appeals were partially upheld. As they had already served six-month bans, they are now eligible to compete again.

The Lucerne event, held at the Allmend stadium, is Switzerland’s third largest athletics meet.

Around 200 Swiss athletes attend the meet annually, joined by a further 150 invited participants from 40 different countries.

Athletes compete in all the major track and field events, with additional competitions for young people and disabled athletes.

The star of Tuesday’s event was Trinidadian sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye, who triumphed in both the 100m and 200m.

Swiss success came for hammer thrower Nicole Zihlmann, who broke the Swiss record for her discipline, and pole-vaulter Nicole Büchler who came second behind Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr.

Swiss athletes will now look forward to competing in the European Athletics Championships on home ground in Zurich on August 12th.

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