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Xuereb says athletes to blame for positive tests

Carabinieri police officers talk at the entrance of the Fra I Pini hotel, where Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson stayed i
Carabinieri police officers talk at the entrance of the Fra I Pini hotel, where Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson stayed i

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Chris Xuereb, the masseur and fitness advisor of Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, has denied providing the two Jamaican sprinters with performance-enhancing drugs and said they should take responsibility for their failed dope tests.

Powell's coach Stephen Francis told Reuters on Tuesday that he was unhappy with Canadian Xuereb's involvement with the sprinter while his agent Paul Doyle also said that the positive result was a result of the supplements Xuereb had provided.

Doyle said that former world record holder Powell was taking as many as 19 different supplements since starting work with Xuereb in May.

Xuereb, however, issued a statement by email on Wednesday denying he was to blame and that everybody involved knew what supplements he was providing.

"It is time the athletes took responsibility for their doping instead of looking around for a scapegoat, whether that person is their therapist, bartender or anyone else," Xuereb said.

"I am extremely disappointed that these athletes have chosen to blame me for their own violations. (World Anti-Doping Agency) WADA and the public needs to stop accepting these stories and hold these athletes accountable."

Xuereb said he had provided soft tissue massage therapy and nutritional help for the two athletes as well as helping them recover from chronic injuries since he started working with them two months ago.

MAJOR BRANDS

"Most importantly, I did not provide any banned or illegal substances to Asafa Powell or Sherone Simpson," he said.

"While I did recommend vitamins, all vitamins recommended by me were all purchased over the counter at reputable nutritional stores and were major brands.

"I was instructed by the agent and athletes to buy these vitamins. All vitamins recommended by me were shown to the MVP club coach Stephen Francis.

"He has gone on record and confirmed the vitamins recommended by me did not contain any performance enhancing substance and were not what was found in Asafa and Sherone's positive drug testing findings," he added.

Xuereb also believes the pair were using supplements he had not recommended.

"It is obvious that these athletes were taking additional supplements that were not discussed or known to me. I was informed by the Italian Police that other supplements were found in these athletes' possession," he said.

"I cooperated fully with the Italian Police and provided answers to all their questions. I was not arrested or detained as alleged. I was simply questioned for several hours (as were Asafa and Sherone) and free to leave.

"Unfortunately, it appears that these athletes were not solely following my suggestions or WADA's guidelines

"We need to remember that in addition to Asafa and Sherone, three other Jamaican athletes tested positive at the 2013 Jamaican trials. I had no contact with these athletes nor do I know them."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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