London Olympics Athletics Men

Asafa Powell (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(Reuters) – Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson can resume competition pending the outcome of their doping appeals, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Wednesday.

Former 100 meters world record holder Powell and Athens Olympics relay champion Simpson were banned 18 months in April after testing positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine during last June’s Jamaican trials.

The Swiss-based CAS upheld the application for a “stay of the execution” of the bans, which were backdated to last June and due to end in December.

“The athletes are free to compete from now on but may have to serve the remaining part of their ban later if the sanction is eventually confirmed by CAS,” the court said in a statement.

Both athletes argued that the offence was minor and sought to have the bans, which were handed down by a Jamaican anti-doping disciplinary panel, reduced to three months.

The CAS said a hearing has been scheduled for July 7-8.

(Writing by Kayon Raynor in Kingston, Jamaica; Editing by Tony Goodson and Frank Pingue)