Stawell Gift champion Josh Ross suspended

TWO-time Stawell Gift champion Josh Ross has been suspended from racing by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency for failing to comply with its Athlete Whereabouts code.

The star sprinter won the gift in 2003 and 2005 and has remained one of the race’s biggest drawcards.

He has twice represented Australia at Olympic level and is a seven-time national champion.

Ross received an infraction notice from Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency for missing three drug tests in an 18-month span.

He maintained the missed tests were part of a misunderstanding by ASADA over his correct address and he had appealed the suspension.

“There’s been some confusion about my address earlier this year and I want to get that cleared up as soon as possible,” he said.

“I’m fiercely anti-drugs, so I don’t want this in my career.”

Ross finished third in his semi-final at this year’s gift and did not qualify for the final despite a strong performance in his heat.

It is the second time a popular Stawell Gift competitor has faced suspension over drug-related matters this year after star Jamaican sprinter and former 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell returned a positive drug test in July.

Powell tested positive to oxilo-frine, which is on a list of stimulants banned by World Anti-Doping Agency.

Ross has never tested positive for a banned substance.

He is able to compete while his appeal is pending.

If Ross’s suspension is not overturned he will be unable to compete until the end of 2015.

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