Powell, Simpson down for National Championships

Sherone Simpson will participate in the National Championships in Jamaica this week. (flickr.com)

Sherone Simpson will participate in the National Championships in Jamaica this week. (flickr.com)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Embattled sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson will participate in the National Championships, starting this week, organisers here have confirmed.

Both Jamaican runners were slapped with 18-month bans earlier this year following positive drugs tests, but have appealed to the Court of Arbitration of Sports for a reduction in the sanctions.

Last week, the Switzerland-based CAS cleared both athletes to resume competition until their appeals were heard.

Powell and Simpson’s participation means they could be in the Jamaica team that heads to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.

“Over 300 of our senior athletes have applied for entry (for the championships) and this includes Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson,” said Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association president, Dr Warren Blake.

Both Powell and Simpson tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine last year and were subsequently banned in April by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission.

Meanwhile, neither superstars Usain Bolt nor Yohan Blake are down to participate in the June 26-29 event.

Both have struggled with injury this season, with Bolt yet to make an appearance on the international circuit.

Blake, though, has been in action recently and Dr Blake said the JAAA were hopeful he would participate.

“Most of our senior athletes have applied and, in fact, the only two notable names that have not applied are Usain Bolt, who we know has been suffering with injury problems, and Yohan Blake,” the JAAA chief said, adding that he was expecting sprinter Blake to enlist for the event by weekend.

The championships will be used to select Jamaica’s squad for the Commonwealth Games which run from July 23 to August 3 and Dr Blake believes the presence of the senior athletes will make the contingent a strong one.

“I expect that our team will continue to do well as we have always been doing at the Commonwealth Games and I suspect that we will be taking one of our strongest teams in a long while,” he said.

“And this is underlined by the fact that most of our senior athletes have indicated a willingness, which is not usually the case for Commonwealth Games.” (CMC)

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