The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the suspension of Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson and they are free to race in the forthcoming competitions.
Powell and Simpson were given a lengthy 18-month ban last year, after been tested positive of banned substances Oxilofrine. However, CAS cut short the ban to six months, which the duo has already served and added that the reason of reducing the ban will be announced in coming weeks.
"The CAS has upheld in part the appeals filed by the Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson against the decisions of the Jamaica Anti-doping disciplinary panel imposing a suspension of 18 months on both of them, starting on 21 June 2013," the global court said in a statement.
"The CAS decided to reduce their period of ineligibility to 6 months, which has been already served," the statement added. "The athletes were already free to compete since 18 June 2014 after the CAS had granted a stay of the decisions of the Jamaica Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel of 8 and 10 April 2014."
Powell on his official website issued a statement, stating that he is happy with the ruling and insisted that the 18-month ban was a pretty harsh punishment.
"I never felt that I should not have received a sanction," said Asafa, "However, I always felt that the 18 months was not in line with a first time positive test result and it being proven it came from a tainted supplement."
Thank u to The Court of Arbitration for Sport. Finally this weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Justice has been served. Now let's run!
— Asafa Powell (@officialasafa) July 14, 2014
Simpson also issued a statement and thanked CAS for reducing the ban, which makes her eligible for competing straight away.
"I feel total relief and that we have finally been vindicated," she said in a statement. "Our actions were not intentional and CAS has recognised that. I am truly thankful."
Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA) president Warren Blake also expressed happiness on the ruling.
"The disciplinary committee will have to look at the ruling and hopefully learn from the rulings and judgments and use that to decide how to proceed if they are any future cases," Blake said.