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Monday, November 30, 2020

Explained: How ‘Christmas shopping’ cost a world champion a shot at the Tokyo Olympics gold

Christian Coleman’s manager said they will knock at the door of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a reprieve.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2020 10:44:49 am
Christian Coleman, Christian Coleman ban, Christian Coleman appeal, Athletics Integrity Unit, Tokyo Games, Registered Testing Pool, express explained, indian expressColeman claimed he was out for a quick Christmas shopping stint and would have reached home for the test if the officials had just given him a call. (Photo: Reuters/file)

Reigning 100m world champion and the fastest man on the planet at the moment, Christian Coleman, was handed a two-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Tuesday for breaching its whereabouts clause. The ban effectively rules him out of next year’s Tokyo Games. The 24-year-old American sprinter was suspended provisionally in June for ‘whereabouts failure’, including missed tests.

What was Coleman’s offence?

Coleman, who is part of the Registered Testing Pool (RTP), had failed to present himself twice for sample collection and provided incorrect details on another occasion, all in 2019. As per WADA rules, an athlete can face a two-year ban if he/she commits three such violations within a period of 12 months.

Christmas shopping or intentional evasion?

The 100m specialist admitted to missing out on a dope test on December 9 last year –– the third and the most crucial miss. Coleman claimed he was out for a quick Christmas shopping stint and would have reached home for the test if the officials had just given him a call.

Sample-collecting officials testified before a disciplinary tribunal that they were present outside Coleman’s house during the entire time allotted (7:15 pm to 8:15 pm) on December 9. Coleman had submitted shopping bills in his defence, but the AIU found that the receipts showed he had purchased 16 items from a store at 8:22 pm, seven minutes beyond the allotted time.

What did the AIU’s disciplinary report say?

The 22-page report, available on AIU’s website, dismisses Coleman’s Christmas shopping claim. It says if Coleman had arrived five minutes before the allotted time, as he had claimed, he could have not missed the two officials waiting at the door. The shopping receipts also punctured his claims. “We see this case as involving behaviour by the athlete as very careless at best and reckless at worst,” the AIU’s three-member judging panel said in its report.

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Who is required to file whereabouts?

Athletes who are part of the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) created by the national anti-doping agency or an international federation will have to submit details. The details of these athletes will be made available to the World Anti-Doping Agency via the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) database. Athletes included in the RTP are those ‘highest-priority athletes’, including medal winners at major games. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

What details does an athlete have to provide?

Whereabouts filings have to include the address where an athlete is living and also additional information as to where they will be while competing and training for the upcoming quarter. But the athlete is also encouraged to give details about her/his whereabouts outside the 60-minute slot.

What will the Coleman camp do now?

The sprinter’s manager Emanuel Hudson said they will knock at the door of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a reprieve. Coleman is not expected to comment on the issue until the case is heard by CAS. “The decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal established under World Athletics Rules is unfortunate and will be immediately appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Hudson tweeted from the account of his HIS company.

With Coleman out, who is favourite to triumph at Tokyo?

With the five fastest timings of this Olympic cycle, Coleman was the heir apparent to Usain Bolt’s 100m throne at Tokyo. His searing 9.76-s run in Doha last year was the sixth-fastest timing in history. Compatriot and 200m world champion Noah Lyles and Canadian star Andre De Grasse are two runners who have it in them to take the top spot on the podium in Coleman’s absence.

Lyles’ 9.86s run at Shanghai last year is the second-best timing in the world this Olympic cycle. The race assumes even more significance as he pipped Coleman to get that victory. After an injury-ridden 2017 and 2018, the 25-year old De Grasse found his feet last year winning the 200m silver and 100m bronze at the Doha Worlds. His personal best of 9.90s also came in 2019. With ample experience under his belt, he can outrun the younger Lyles.

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