Shaunae Miller-Uibo questions Salwa Eid Naser case of missed drug tests

Shaunae Miller-Uibo
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Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo questioned Bahraini rival Salwa Eid Naser‘s case of missed drug tests from early 2019, for which she was cleared earlier this month after confusion of her location for one of the tests.

Naser, the world 400m champion, was provisionally suspended this past June, 14 months after the crucial third missed test, before being cleared.

“Why in this case was the athlete not provisionally suspended until a year and two months later?” was posted on Miller-Uibo’s social media on Wednesday, one day after it was announced that Naser was cleared.

If athletes miss three drug tests in a 12-month span, they can be suspended one to two years even if they’ve never failed a test.

Naser’s third missed test or filing failure was April 12, 2019, triggering an anti-doping rule violation.

“Although an administrative review of the April 2019 test was completed in August 2019, the AIU did not bring charges until June 2020,” according to the Naser tribunal decision published Tuesday, noting, among other arguments, that suspensions can be backdated.

The AIU, which handles doping cases in track and field and is independent of World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, declined to comment specifically on Naser’s case.

“Whereabouts cases often involve complex factual scenarios that require investigation,” according to the AIU. “Cases are generally not concluded soon after the date of the third whereabouts failure, but often will only be finalized months later after all the necessary evidence supporting the charge is gathered. How long this takes depends on the specifics of each case.”

Naser received a provisional suspension on June 4, 2020, until a hearing could take place to determine the outcome of her case. The hearing was Oct. 6. The decision to clear Naser was made by three members of a disciplinary tribunal (whose members act independently of World Athletics and the AIU). The AIU can appeal within 30 days to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Miller noted the time span from the third missed test on April 12, 2019 — which was ultimately withdrawn over the location confusion — and the provisional suspension that began June 4, 2020.

In the 14 months in between, Naser won the world 400m title over Miller-Uibo, the Rio Olympic champion in the event, on Oct. 3, 2019. (Miller-Uibo has said she will likely not race the 400m at the Tokyo Games because she prefers the 200m and does not want to attempt a double under the original Olympic schedule that had the 400m first round and 200m final on the same day.)

Naser also missed another drug test on Jan. 24, 2020, that occurred more than 12 months after the date corresponding to the first strike in 2019.

Miller-Uibo noted two other unnamed athletes with cases of missing three drug tests in a 12-month span, with each’s third missed test also happening in April 2019.

The specific dates match cases for sprinters Christian Coleman and Michelle-Lee Ahye.

Coleman’s case was with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and not the AIU. He was charged over the three missed tests in August 2019 — but not suspended, USADA confirmed Wednesday — but the charge was withdrawn by early September, as his three strikes were in a span of more than 12 months. Coleman is now under provisional suspension in a separate AIU case of missed drug tests, pending the outcome of a hearing.

Ahye was provisionally suspended by the AIU in August 2019 and banned two years in January. Her case is in the appeals process.

Turning back to Naser’s case, Miller-Uibo asked, “What took them so long to make this information public? How is it possible that this case lingered on until World Championships, which was in October 2019 and not once were the athletes informed, or the athlete in question provisionally suspended like others that were in the same position?”

Miller-Uibo asked for responses from World Athletics and the AIU addressing her concerns.

“We understand that the time this process takes can be frustrating, but the system must be independent, robust and thorough in order to maintain integrity,” according to World Athletics, which did not mention Naser’s case specifically in its Wednesday statement and forwarded a request for comment on Miller-Uibo’s post to the AIU. “This case is in the AIU’s jurisdiction.”

The AIU had a general response with this infographic that, according to the organization, it sent to all athletes in the primary drug-testing pool earlier this year.

The infographic states that, in normal circumstances, athletes are charged and provisionally suspended 30 days after confirmation of a third missed test but that it may take months depending on the specifics of individual cases.

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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