Athletics: Powell to use reprieve to compete at Jamaican nationals

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AFP) - Sprinter Asafa Powell plans to compete at the Jamaica Track and Field Championships this week, a year after testing positive for a banned drug during the same event.

The former 100 metres world record holder was slapped with an 18-month ban by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission following a positive test for Oxilofrine.

But Powell has been given a temporary reprieve by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) while he appeals the suspension, allowing him to run in the nationals. A hearing on his appeal is scheduled for July 7 and 8.

Despite the appearance of Powell several big names are missing this week, stripping the event of much of its star power. Jamaican athletes are also using this event to try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in July-August.

Olympic champion Usain Bolt and his training partner, Yohan Blake, will not be in Kingston. Bolt has not raced this season but may still try to run in Glasgow.

Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is also absent owing to a leg injury. She told the Jamaican media that she might try to use a medical exemption to allow her to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Two other Jamaican athletes who have been involved in doping cases are expected to compete. They are Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Simpson, who is a training partner of Powell, was also given an 18-month suspension after a positive test for Oxilofrine. Like Powell, she has asked for it to be reduced.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Campell-Brown will be racing in Jamaica for the first time in over a year after being cleared of doping by CAS in March.

In May 2013, she won the 100m at the Jamaican Invitational but then later failed a drug test.

She appealed and was cleared after the CAS ruled that there were issues with the way the Jamaican authorities handled her test.

Kaliese Spencer, the world leader in the women's 400m hurdles, and 200m star Warren Weir should have little trouble punching their tickets to Glasgow.

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