Kingston: Jamaican sprinter Steve Mullings has been banned for life after a second doping offence, the Jamaican anti-doping disciplinary panel has said.
"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 was quoted as saying in the Caribbean media.
The decision came Monday, four days after the sprinter was tested positive. The panel Thursday found Mullings, a former relay World champion, guilty of using the banned diuretic furosemide, a possible masking agent for other drugs. The US-based sprinter did not attend the hearing.
Gayle said the decision was unanimous.
"The fact that Mullings refused to attend the hearing, despite our best efforts to get him here on several occasions, and we believe that we certainly should impose the maximum in this particular case," Gayle said
Mullings, 28, was expected to appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), his attorney Alando Terrelonge said.
Terrelonge said the decision was unfair and it was based on the evidence presented to the three-member panel.
"There was no evidence before this panel to indicate that 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 tested positive after finishing third in the 100 metres final at the Jamaican national trials in June. The athlete had in 2004 served a two-year ban after testing positive for excessive levels of testosterone.