Christian Coleman of the US. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY
Christian Coleman of the US. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY

Bengaluru — World 100m champion Christian Coleman will miss the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after being banned for two years for breaching whereabouts rules, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

Coleman, who narrowly escaped a ban in 2019 for missing three doping tests, was provisionally suspended by the AIU in June.

“We regret to say that we do not think there is any mitigation which can fairly be relied upon to reduce the sanction from the two-year period,” the AIU said. “Unfortunately, we see this case as involving behaviour by the athlete as very careless at best and reckless at worst.”

Coleman’s representative Emanuel Hudson said in a statement the sprinter would appeal against the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“The decision of the disciplinary tribunal established under the World Athletics Rules is unfortunate and will be immediately appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” said Hudson. “Mr Coleman has nothing further to say until such time as the matter can be heard in the court of jurisdiction.”

The American sprinter claimed at the time of his provisional suspension that anti-doping officials had not followed procedure when he missed them after going Christmas shopping on December 9, 2019 at a time when he had said he would be at home.

Doping control officers testified before a disciplinary tribunal that they were present during the whole of the allotted hour of 7.15pm to 8.15pm on December 9 in front of his house.

Coleman in turn testified he had arrived home from Christmas shopping shortly before the end of the one-hour period. However, shopping receipts showed that Coleman had purchased 16 items from a Walmart Supercenter at 8.22pm, the AIU said.

“We do not accept the athlete’s evidence,” the AIU added. “It is obvious that in fact the athlete did not go home until after making his 8.22pm purchase. We are comfortably satisfied that this is what happened.”

At the time of his provisional suspension, Coleman had complained that the AIU’s doping control officers had not called him on that night on December 9. The AIU said in its judgment that doping control officers were not required to phone athletes.

The AIU said Coleman’s ban would end on May 13, 2022 and that he could appeal against the tribunal’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Three failures to properly file whereabouts information or being absent during the hour stated in a 12-month period can result in a one or two-year suspension.

Coleman, also a silver medallist in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2017 world championship, escaped suspension in 2019 when the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada), after receiving guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency on how to calculate the 12-month window for three missed tests, withdrew the charge.

The sprinter, who also helped the US to 4x100m gold at the 2019 world championship in Doha, later demanded an apology from Usada, but two of those misses have now combined with the latest failure to result in a ban.

“The fact is that he had had the narrowest possible escape from a potential ban on this prior occasion,” the AIU said. “It might be thought he would have learnt from this experience ... in fact, that is not at all what happened.”

Reuters

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