Sponsor suspends deal with Jamaica sprinter Powell
Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning suspended its sponsorship of Asafa Powell after the Jamaican sprinter failed a dope test and was formally placed under criminal investigation in Italy for possibly violating anti-doping laws.india Updated: Jul 18, 2013 11:30 IST
Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning suspended its sponsorship of Asafa Powell after the Jamaican sprinter failed a dope test and was formally placed under criminal investigation in Italy for possibly violating anti-doping laws.
The company said in a statement that it has "great respect for his efforts and hard work" over the years but it was suspending its deal with the former 100-metre world-record holder pending the outcome of a doping investigation.
The announcement comes days after weekend revelations that Powell and fellow Jamaican track star Sherone Simpson tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrone at the national championships last month.
Discus thrower Allison Randall and two other athletes also returned positives for banned substances at the same meet.
News over the weekend that Tyson Gay also was under the cloud of doping led sportswear giant Adidas to suspend its sponsorship of the US sprinter on Monday.
On Wednesday, Li-Ning said it will immediately end its contract with Powell if he is "found to be involved in the use of banned stimulants". The company said it "is firmly opposed to any acts of deceit that tarnishes the principles of fair competition".
Li-Ning, which has thousands of retail outlets in China, is gradually gaining recognition in the United States. Last year, Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade signed with Li-Ning, which gave the NBA player his own brand within the company.
Wade's former Miami teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, had also endorsed the brand.