Christian Coleman: Why is the Team USA 100m sprinter banned from Tokyo 2020?

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Christian Coleman: Why is the Team USA 100m sprinter banned from Tokyo 2020?
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He was a favorite for the Olympic 100m title, but will be missing from the field of the world’s fastest men at the Tokyo Games

Christian Coleman was handed a two-year ban, which was reduced to 18-months on appeal, for missing a string of mandatory drug tests.

The 2019 World Champion was given the ban in May 2020, five months after the last of three missed tests over a 12-month span.

Coleman, 25, has never failed a drug test, but a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel ruled that the sprinter had lied about being at home at the end of a one hour test window on 9 December 2019, the third of the missed tests.

Officials stated that Coleman “should have been on ‘high alert’ on that day” given he had missed two earlier tests.

The CAS panel stated that they believe the Atlanta-born runner is a clean athlete and that there was no evidence he had deliberately tried to avoid being tested.

Coleman took over as the world’s fastest man following the retirement of Usain Bolt in 2017, and had the world’s fastest time in the 100m in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

He also took gold at the world championships in Doha in September 2019 and his personal best of 9.76 makes him the sixth-fastest man of all time.

“While I appreciate that the arbitrators correctly found that I am a clean athlete, I am obviously disappointed that I will miss the Olympic Games this summer,” Coleman said previously.

“I look forward to representing the United States at both World Championships in 2022, especially the first-ever World Championships held in the United States next summer where I plan to defend my world title against a new Olympic champion in the 100 meters.”

The CAS panel accepted that Coleman had not received a phone call form testers to try and find him for his third test.

While a call is not required, Coleman said that he had received one every time he had previously not been home for a test.

His missed tests in January and April 2019, were “filing failures”, meaning that Coleman was not an an address he had given in quarterly forms telling testers where he could be found.

Coleman told officials that on 9 December 2019 he had returned home from Christmas shopping in Lexington, Kentucky, before the end of a one-hour window.

He provided receipts and said he had watched the kickoff of an NFL game before going out again to a Walmart.

The tribunal rejected this argument, saying that its two testers had been sat outside his house, had knocked on the door every ten minutes, and would have seen him arrive back there.

They also rejected the timeline they gave him and said it was impossible to have been in all the places he had claimed to have been.

Coleman will be free again to run once his suspension is over in November, but it comes to late for the Olympics.

Had his suspension started on or around the time of the last missed test, he would have been free to compete in Tokyo, but the Athletics Integrity Unit, the anti-doping watchdog, decided there was no grounds to backdate it.

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