KINGSTON Jamaican sprinter Steve Mullings was banned for life from competing in athletics after a second doping offense, the Jamaican Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel said Monday.
"We the panel believes that a clear and strong message must be sent to every athlete in Jamaica and elsewhere that prohibited substances will not be tolerated in sports," panel chairman Lennox Gayle told Reuters.
Mullings, 28, was expected to appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), his attorney said. Alando Terrelonge said the decision was unfair based on the evidence presented to the three-member panel.
"There was no evidence before this panel to indicate that Mr. Mullings either deliberately took a drug to enhance his performance or to mask the presence of other drugs that he was taking to enhance his performance," Terrelonge said.
Mullings, a former relay world champion, had been found guilty Thursday by the panel for using the banned diuretic furosemide, which can act as a possible masking agent for other drugs.
The sprinter, now based in the United States, did not attend the hearing. Gayle said the decision to ban Mullings was unanimous.
"The fact that Mr Mullings, on several occasions we tried to get him here and he refused to attend, and we believe that we certainly should impose the maximum in this particular case," Gayle said
Mullings tested positive for the substance after placing third in the 100 meters final of the Jamaican national trials in June. He previously served a two-year ban after testing positive for excessive levels of testosterone in 2004.
(Editing by Julian Linden)