Italian police find stash of pills, medicine in Powell's room
Rome, July 16 (IANS/CMC)
Italian police have said they discovered a stash of unidentified pills and medicines in the hotel room of Asafa Powell, the Jamaican sprinter accused of doping.
Officers searched Powell’s hotel room on Monday, a day after it emerged that he had tested positive for a banned stimulant, oxilofrine, at the Jamaican championships last month.
Powell and other Jamaican athletes have been training in the area, part of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region close to the border of Slovenia.
Police from a specialist drug and food safety unit say they found around 50 boxes and vials containing medicines and pills, according to Italian press reports.
“For the moment there have been no arrests,” a police said.
The Jamaican runner was staying in the hotel “Fra I Pini” or “Among the Pines” in the coastal resort town of Lignano Sabbiadoro.
The searches were carried out after requests from WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Police say they were “surprised” at the quantity of drugs found in the hotel room because it was “disproportionate” to the needs of one athlete.
The drugs were sent to police laboratories for testing and identification. If shown to be banned substances, they could prove to be “the smoking gun” in the doping scandal.
“The Jamaican squad has chosen the training facilities at Lignano Sabbiadoro for years and has always shown great appreciation for the town,” said the mayor, Luca Fanotto.
Powell, 30, has insisted that he never knowingly took banned substances.
“I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat,” he posted on Twitter.
He has called for an investigation as to how the oxilofrine could have entered his system.