Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Forbes concerned by CAS ruling on Coleman

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2021 | 12:11 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
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Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association First Vice-president Ian Forbes says the reduction of American sprinter Christian Coleman’s two-year ban could send the wrong message to athletes about missing drug tests. It was reported yesterday that...

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association First Vice-president Ian Forbes says the reduction of American sprinter Christian Coleman’s two-year ban could send the wrong message to athletes about missing drug tests.

It was reported yesterday that the reigning World 100m champion’s ban was reduced by six months after his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

While not refuting CAS’ argument to reduce Coleman’s ban, Forbes said that the inconsistencies in the sanctioning of athletes who have missed three drug tests in a calendar year could diminish the seriousness at which the matter should be taken.

“It could be sending the wrong message, but they (athletes) do so at their own peril,” Forbes said. “I am not certain that athletes have taken the whereabouts tests as seriously as they should, because it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have ingested a banned substance if they are penalised for missing the tests. However, I would want some consistency across the board in terms of the punishment. But, I understand that each situation is different.”

MISSING THE OLYMPICS

The ruling means that the 60m world record holder will only miss one major championship, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan this summer, as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the athletics calendar for much of the duration of the ban.

Forbes, however, wants to use the opportunity to remind Jamaican athletes of the seriousness of missing drug tests.

“I would advise our athletes to take it as seriously as they possibly can,” he said. “There will be emergencies, but the system allows for one to communicate in those instances.”

Coleman was banned by the AIU (Athletics Integrity Unit) after missing his third test in December 2019.

The AIU’s out-of-competition testing guidelines say that athletes are accountable for missed tests if they are not at their specified location for the one-hour period they have stated. The tester must wait for the full 60 minutes before leaving.

Coleman said that he was out Christmas shopping and could have returned home for the test if the tester had called him in December 2019.

While saying that Coleman ‘should have been on high alert’ having missed two tests prior, CAS reduced the ban on the grounds that he could have returned to the location if contacted in the allotted 60-minute window in which the time testers must stay on location if an athlete is not present when they arrive.

akino.ming@gleanerjm.com