Sources in Jamaica have named the banned substance that five Jamaican athletes tested positive for at the national trials last month as methylxanthine, a decongestant. If taken as a performance-enhancing drug it could assist in getting oxygen into the lungs.
Methylxanthine is often found in cough medicine and can be bought without a prescription over the pharmacy counter, adding to the potential confusion for athletes. A type of bronchodilator, it is commonly used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Well-placed sources indicate that Yohan Blake, 19, who trains with Usain Bolt at the Racers Track Club in Kingston, and Sheri-Ann Brooks, the reigning 100m Commonwealth champion, are on the list of suspected offenders, although neither the International Association of Athletics Federations nor the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has been able to confirm those names or the name of the substance found.
Blake, who finished second behind Bolt in the 100 metres at the Aviva London Grand Prix at the weekend, appeared distressed by the accusation.
He said on Friday, when news broke of the failed tests, that he was ?clean? but refused to comment after his name was mentioned yesterday. Brooks? manager, Chris Mychasiw, said his athlete had been told of the positive test result and would be returning to Jamaica from Europe.
All five athletes are thought to have been notified and are due to return to the island this week. A disciplinary hearing could be held as early as Wednesday but it is likely that the verdict will recordonly a minor offence for such a substance.
JADCO?s medical officer, Dr Herb Elliott played down the severity of the situation. ?I can assure you it wasn?t any major stuff,? he said.
A spokesman for the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association added: ?This stimulant is found in a lot of nasal inhalers that people use. If they can give a satisfactory explanation of how this was found in their system, they could receive a public warning but, if it is felt it was used to gain an unfair advantage, then they could get a two-year ban.?
Jamaica?s prime minister, Bruce Golding, has called for an inquiry into the affair that has cast a cloud over Jamaica?s track and field success.
While none of the island?s stars is implicated, the link to Bolt?s athletics club ? run by the coach Glen Mills ? will be of great concern in safeguarding the sport?s international reputation.
Mills was at Crystal Palace at the weekend as four of his athletes made up the winning 4x100m relay squad, which yesterday posted the fourth fastest time in history with their run of 37.46sec. Mills refused to comment on the positive drugs tests but appeared unperturbed by the unfolding drama (Guardian Online)