World 100m champion Coleman suspended; could miss Olympics


World 100m champion Coleman suspended; could miss Olympics

Thursday, June 18, 2020

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Reigning world 100m champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended yesterday over a missed drugs test, putting him at risk of a two-year ban that would rule him out of next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Coleman, who only narrowly avoided being banned last year after three violations of anti-doping “whereabouts” rules across 2018 and 2019, said in a statement on Twitter that he was the victim of “a purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test”.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the anti-doping arm of World Athletics, responded by saying testers had followed the rules when they visited Coleman's apartment on December 9, 2019.

Coleman said he was out shopping for Christmas presents.

“I was more than ready and available for testing and if I had received a phone call I could've taken the drug test and carried on with my night,” he said.

“I've been contacted by phone literally every other time I've been tested,” said Coleman.

The AIU responded in an e-mail to AFP in which they said “we will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing case” but that “a phone call is discretionary and not a mandatory requirement”.

Coleman, 24, is now barred from competition pending a hearing under World Athletics anti-doping rules.

The American escaped suspension on a technicality ahead of last September's World Championships in Qatar, after it emerged he had committed three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period.

Those offences were recorded on June 6, 2018 and on January 16 and April 26 in 2019.

Coleman successfully argued that the first missed case should have been backdated to the first day of the quarter —April 1, 2018 — meaning the three failures fell just outside the required 12-month period.

Yesterday's suspension for again missing a test was greeted with disbelief by the track and field community.

The news came 12 days after another 2019 world champion, Bahrain's Salwa Eid Naser, winner of the women's 400m, was provisionally suspended for the same reason.

It is another blow to the image of athletics, a sport trying to improve a reputation damaged by doping scandals, particularly in the sprints.

Coleman's two American predecessors as 100m world champions, Justin Gatlin, who won in 2005 and 2017, and Tyson Gay, 2007, were both banned for doping. Gatlin was banned twice and his second title came after he had served a four-year ban.

Coleman, who clocked 9.76sec to win 100m gold in Doha, said he had unsuccessfully challenged the latest AIU finding that he missed a test on December 9, 2019.

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