The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced 18-month doping bans for Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson to just six months.
Powell, a former world record holder in the 100 metres, and three-time Olympic medallist Simpson tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine at Jamaica's national trials last year. In April, Jamaica's anti-doping disciplinary panel suspended the two athletes for 18 months, with the start of the sanctions backdated to June 21, 2013.
"I never felt that I should not have received a sanction," Powell said in a joint statement released with Simpson on Monday.
"However, I always felt that the 18 months was not in line with a first-time positive test result."
Simpson said their "actions were not intentional and CAS has recognized that."
CAS announced Monday it had decided to reduce their period of ineligibility to six months. That time has already been served. The court heard the appeals in New York over two days earlier this month.
The two athletes had requested that their suspensions be reduced to three months, arguing their offences were "minor" because it was caused by contamination of the supplement "Epiphany D1" that both of them were taking.
'Renewed sense of excitement'
Powell and Simpson have been free to compete since June 18 after CAS granted a stay of the Jamaican panel's decisions pending the outcome of their doping appeals. The athletes said they would compete Tuesday at a meet in Switzerland "with a renewed sense of excitement and passion."
The Switzerland-based appeals court said its full decisions on the sprinters' cases will be issued "in a few weeks." But Powell and Simpson said the court ruled that all arbitration costs for the CAS hearings should be paid for by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO).
Without disclosing specifics, the statement from the Jamaican athletes and their attorney said it is "believed to be one of the largest awards in the history of the CAS."
"The nearly historic cost that JADCO will be required to pay is a sign from the CAS that JADCO's failures in handling their cases are unacceptable," said Paul Greene, the sprinters' attorney.
JADCO did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
Earlier this year, CAS cleared Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown of doping because of "deplorable" flaws in the test collection procedures in Jamaica and possible contamination of her urine sample.
A Jamaican panel had ruled that Campbell-Brown be suspended for two years before CAS cleared her.