Athletics: Athletics-Naser to miss Olympics after CAS issues two-year ban


(Reuters) – Bahrain’s world 400 metres champion Salwa Eid Naser will miss the Tokyo Olympics after being given a two-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday for an anti-doping violation by missing out-of-competition tests.

Sport’s highest court, however, said that the Nigerian-born 23-year-old would not be stripped of her results from the 2019 world championships as it had sufficient evidence that she did not gain from doping practices then.

CAS in November registered an appeal from the sport’s global governing body World Athletics against an Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) disciplinary tribunal decision to clear Naser of committing an anti-doping violation.

According to World Athletics rules, any combination of three missed tests or filing failures within a 12-month period by an athlete constitutes a whereabouts failure violation.

“Naser is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on the date of notification of this award, with credit given for the period of provisional suspension already served between June 4, 2020 and Oct. 14, 2020,” CAS said in a statement.

“All competitive results obtained by Naser from Nov. 25, 2019, through to the date of notification of this award shall be disqualified, with all of the resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize and appearance money.”

Naser won gold at the World Championships in Doha on Oct. 3, 2019 clocking 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time in history.

A CAS panel adjudicating in the matter said Naser’s Doha result would stand.

“The panel’s task was never to pronounce whether or not the athlete is or was a ‘doping cheat’, but only to decide whether she has been in breach of the… anti-doping rules as charged and to impose a suitable sanction in accordance with the rules.

“The panel has found she was in breach and that throughout 2019 and into January 2020 her whole approach to the whereabouts requirements was seriously and inexcusably irresponsible.”

CAS said it recognised the athlete would be distressed to miss the Olympics “but the fault for this blow to her career is no-one’s but hers.”

“She attempted to escape the consequences of her actions by giving evidence which this panel found to be untruthful. Such an approach from a top-level athlete is seriously undermining of the whole anti-doping program and is sanctioned accordingly.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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