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Miller noted the time span from the third missed test on April 12, 2019 — which was ultimately withdrawn over the location confusion — and the provisional suspension that began June 4, 2020.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