American sprinter and reigning 100-meter world champion Christian Coleman has been banned from competition for two years after missing a series of doping tests, the Athletics Integrity Unit ruled Tuesday.
The decision means that, barring a successful appeal, the man who was favored to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics next summer will instead be barred from participating.
The Games were postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coleman, 24, was provisionally suspended in June after missing three tests in a 12-month period in 2019. He wrote on Twitter at the time that he did not contest the first two missed tests, in January and April, but believed the third missed test in December “was a purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test.” Coleman said he was shopping for Christmas presents at the time.
The Athletics Integrity Unit, which rules on infractions of World Athletics Anti-Doping rules, noted in its decision Tuesday that “there is no suggestion that the Athlete has ever taken any Prohibited Substance.” But it found that Coleman had violated the organization’s whereabouts requirements, which stipulate that athletes must provide their whereabouts for one hour each day during which they can be tested.
“Unfortunately, we see this case as involving behaviour by the Athlete as very careless at best and reckless at worst,” the AIU wrote in its decision. “In those circumstances, we impose a two-year sanction.”
It is immediately unclear whether Coleman will appeal the AIU’s decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He has 30 days to do so.
Barring a successful appeal, Coleman will be eligible to return to competition on May 13, 2022.
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