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‘Tragedy’ for athletics: Powell and Gay failed drug tests

DRUG POSITIVE: Powell, left, and Gay failed their banned substances tests (PA)

POSTIVE DRUGS tests of sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell has caused “shock and amazement” and is a “tragedy” for athletics, according to the sport’s UK performance director Neil Black.

Commenting on America’s Gay and Jamaica’s Powell both failing tests for banned substances, the UK Athletics chief said: “Then you rapidly go through to the tragedy, the shock to the sport, that it doesn't do the sport any good.

“People start making comparisons, start thinking 'goodness, if that can happen to somebody at that level... How? Why?' You rapidly go off with that questioning.”

The sprinters, both 30, are two of the quickest ever men to run the 100m – Gay is the joint-second fastest over the distance, while Powell is the fourth fastest of all time.

Black added: “It just triggers you off to think if it is possible to be even more diligent in our awareness, if it is possible for us to remind athletes of their responsibility and accountability for all these things, to make sure they are looking at every aspect of what they do, what they take, when they take it, why they take it.

“When in doubt, don't take it.”

Former British sprinter Darren Campbell told BBC: “What does anyone believe anymore?

“People doubt the sport and question whether what they have witnessed is natural.

“There's no innocence until proven guilty because of what others have done.”

He added: “In a lot of people's eyes we are all guilty and it's not supposed to be that way.

“I never ran under 10 or 20 seconds but my conscience was always clear and, as long as I could keep it that way, it meant I could always sneak a medal.

“That's how the British athletes need to think. You stand on that line and do your best.”

Calling for harsher penalties against drug cheats, ex-world champion marathon runner Paula Radcliffe said: “Ultimately, athletes are responsible for what they put in their bodies.

“At least Gay has owned up and is willing to take his punishment.

“Athletics is committed to addressing the problem. We probably need tougher sanctions and to start sanctioning countries above a certain level of positives.”

After learning of the result, and still awaiting his B sample, Gay said: “I basically put my trust in someone and was let down”.

However, Powell has said he has never “knowingly” used performance-enhancing drugs.

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