Nigeria born current World 400m Champion, Bahrain Salwa Eid Naser has being provincially suspended for 12 months for missed three drug test. She may now face two years ban if found guilty.
Surprisingly, her agent Juan Pineda claimed ignorant of her suspension when asked by Letrun, referred inquiries instead to the Bahrain Athletics Association.
“You have more information than me,” Pineda said. “…This information, you are giving me now”.
There are two types of whereabouts failures: missed tests (when a doping control officer attempts to drug test an athlete during their daily one-hour window and the athlete is not available) and filing failures (in which an athlete’s whereabouts information is inaccurate or incomplete). Three whereabouts failures in a 12-month span triggers a suspension. It is not yet known which combination led to Naser’s suspension.
Pineda has represented several other athletes banned for anti-doping violations, including former half marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum of Kenya, Eritrean-born 2019 European cross country champion Robel Fsiha of Sweden, and Moroccan-born 1500 runner Sadik Mikhouof Bahrain.
Naser is also the latest in a line of high-profile Bahraini athletes to be suspended for anti-doping violations, a list that also includes 2016 Olympic steeplechase champion and former world record holder Ruth Jebet, 2016 Olympic marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa, and 2016 world indoor 400 champ Kemi Adekoya.
Naser, who ran the third-fastest 400m in history when winning gold at last year’s world championships in Doha, was born in Nigeria but represents Bahrain. The 21 years old quater-miler broke the Asian record on her way to gold in Doha at the World Athletics Championships in October with a time of 48.14 seconds, the third-fastest in the event’s history.
It was the quickest time in the women’s 400m in over 34 years when East German sprinter Marita Koch smashed the world record in 1985, although it was heavily reported by sources that Koch used anabolic steroids, although never proven.
She along with the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, were the only women to break 49 seconds in the 2010s.
At 21, she was also the youngest woman ever to win the event at the World Championships when she held off the fast-finishing Miller-Uibo.
The AIU today announced that it had charged and provisionally suspended Naser because of whereabouts failures.
Athletes in the testing pool must provide anti-doping authorities with their whereabouts at select time periods so that they can be located and tested.
In addition to 400m gold in 2019, Naser won a silver medal over the distance at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London and is a former world youth champion.