American sprinter has suspension reduced by six months on appeal but will not be at Tokyo Games
Christian Coleman, the world 100m champion, has seen his anti-doping ban reduced from two years to 18 months but he will still miss the Olympics in Tokyo because he will not be able to compete until November.
The 25-year-old was originally given a two-year suspension for missing three drugs tests but after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) he has had six months knocked off that ban.
He was first provisionally suspended in June 2020 after missing a third test in December 2019.
The Athletics Integrity Unit’s investigation into his rule violations said there was no suggestion he had ever taken a banned substance.
But Coleman’s attitude towards his anti-doping duties were described as “entirely careless, perhaps even reckless” by the AIU last year.
CAS found “the athlete’s degree of negligence to be lower than that established in the challenged decision,” because Coleman did not receive a phone call when an anti-doping officer arrived at the address where the sprinter was supposed to be for one of his missed tests.
Coleman was shopping near his home and would have been able to return in time to give a sample had he been contacted, it was argued. “Although a telephone call during the 60-minute window was not required by the rules, it was nevertheless reasonable for the athlete to expect such a call, as a matter of standard practice among other doping control officers,” said CAS.
Brett Clothier, head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, said: “We welcome the decision in this case. No notice out of competition testing is a fundamental pillar of the World Anti-Doping Code and is only possible with strict enforcement of whereabouts requirements. The decision confirms that athletes must take their whereabouts responsibilities seriously and be present at their indicated location during their daily 60-minute testing slot.
“It is not sufficient for athletes to be near their indicated location and to rely on being called by the doping control officer. The whereabouts requirements apply to all elite athletes around the world in equal measure.”
Current favourites for the Olympic 100m title in Tokyo now include Noah Lyles of the United States and Andre De Grasse of Canada.