Athletics

World 100m champion Coleman suspended after missing drug test

100m winner Coleman claims he's a 'victim', anti-doping unit insists he doesn't know rules

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) yesterday rejected world 100m champion Christian Coleman's complaints after it provisionally suspended him over a missed drugs test, putting him at risk of a 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 long statement on Twitter that he was the victim of "a purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test".

The US sprint star, 24, said testers had visited on Dec 9 last year, when he was out shopping for Christmas presents nearby and he had bank statements and receipts to prove it.

"Don't tell me I 'missed' a test if you sneak up on my door (parked outside the gate and walked through...there's no record of anyone coming to my place) without my knowledge," Coleman said.

"And now this might result in me being suspended from other filing failures that occurred well over a year ago at this point."

He insisted that he "was more than ready and available for testing", adding: "If I had received a phone call, I could've taken the drug test and carried on with my night. I've been contacted by phone literally every other time I've been tested."

The AIU, World Athletics' anti-doping arm, responded in an e-mail to AFP in which they said "we will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing case", but wanted to make clear that "a phone call is discretionary and not a mandatory requirement".

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"Any advanced notice of testing, in the form of a phone call or otherwise, provides an opportunity for athletes to engage in tampering or evasion or other improper conduct which can limit the efficacy of testing."

Coleman -who clocked 9.76sec to win 100m gold at the World Championships in Doha last year- is now barred from competition pending a hearing under World Athletics anti-doping rules, the AIU website said.

Coleman escaped suspension on a technicality ahead of last September's World Championships after it emerged he had committed three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period. Those offences were recorded on June 6, 2018, Jan 16, 2019 and April 26, 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. - AFP

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