30-MONTH BAN
Christopher Taylor facing lengthy suspension for anti-doping rule violation
TAYLOR...the 23-year-old Jamaican was facing the possibility of a four-year ban but would naturally be relieved with the shorter suspension which will see him back on track in another 18 months (Photo: Collin Reid)

Jamaica's Olympic and World Championships 400m finalist Christopher Taylor is expected to be handed a 30-month suspension by the Athletics Integrity Unity (AIU) for an anti-doping rule violation dating back to late 2022.

The suspension was backdated to November 2022, meaning that the athlete has already served 12 months of his penalty.

Taylor was deemed to have violated the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Anti-Doping Rule Article 2.3, which speaks to evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection.

According to information from well-placed sources, the ruling, which is expected to be announced today, will put Taylor on the sidelines until May 2025, meaning that he will miss next year's Olympic Games in Paris, but would be eligible to compete for a place on Jamaica's team to the 2025 World Athletics Championships.

Jamaican 400m runner Christopher Taylor (Photo: Collin Reid)

The 23-year-old Jamaican was facing the possibility of a four-year ban but would naturally be relieved with the shorter suspension which will see him back on track in another 18 months.

WADA Anti-Doping Rule Article 2.3 reads: "Evading Sample collection, or without compelling justification, refusing or failing to submit to Sample collection after notification as authorised in applicable anti-doping rules."

Taylor was represented by well-respected international sports attorney Paul Greene, who was unable to provide comment Thursday.

According to sources, in November 2022, anti-doping officials turned up to conduct a test at the location that Taylor had indicated on his whereabouts form.

However, when the officials arrived, Taylor was not at the listed location, had not updated his whereabouts information, and was instead at the Norman Manley International Airport, waiting to catch a flight that had previously been booked.

If an athlete is not where they say they would be at a particular point when anti-doping officials turn up for testing, that can count as a missed test. Critically, while a first or second offence does not carry any penalty, if an athlete misses three tests during a 12-month period, that constitutes a 'Whereabouts Violation' which results in an automatic period of ineligibility for the athlete.

However, if an athlete is deemed to have violated WADA Anti-Doping Code Article 2.3, which speaks to "Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection" — which is the charge being made against Taylor, a ban ranging from two to four years is mandatory.

The differentiation between a simple 'missed test' and a charge of evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, centres on contact and arrangements being made between the Doping Control Officer and athlete for the facilitation of testing which are then not honoured.

Sources close to Taylor have maintained that the athlete had no intention to evade, refuse or fail to submit to a test and that there was a misunderstanding or misinterpretation around the communication between the athlete and the anti-doping officials.

BY ANDRE LOWE Sports content manager lowea@jamaicaobserver.com

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