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Powell`s coach calls for action against drug cheats

16 October 2006

Stephen Francis Stephen Francis
By Gary Smith

Stephen Francis, coach of 100-metre co-world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica, has called on the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), governing body of track and field, to formulate methods of dealing with the ongoing issues of drug cheating in the sports.

According to Francis, the cheats in the sport are making it difficult for those who train hard on a daily basis and come out and perform well on the international circuit.

"I do think that there is too big an issue being made in the sport about the drug issue," Francis was quoted as saying in a report last week. "What that does is create huge media stories because it doesn't matter how good you (athletes) perform. In life, disaster is always going to outshine the good.”

The man who guided Powell to a hat-trick of world records, which includes two superb runs of the 9.77 seconds mark in this concluded season, said the people in charge of the sport need to find simple and easy ways to protect the good name of the sport.

"The people who run the sport need to understand that there are ways of dealing with the drug issue, which does not involve a press conference or a public discussion of drug cases because that will always drive the good news from the sport," said Francis.

According to reports reaching Caribbean Net News, there have been rumours of Powell being on drugs. However, Francis said his champ is clean and is hoping it will remain this way until he calls it a day.

"One thing I would say, is that I believe that through a lot of hard work, research, luck and a fortunate environment, we have been able to do well, and I'm hoping that by the time I decide to stop coaching we will still have a clean drug record."

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