Reigning World 100m champion Christian Coleman’s pleading could only get six months reprieve as his two-year ban for missing three drug tests was reduced following his appeal as Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) reduced his two-year ban for missing three drug tests after his appeal.
The 25-year-old American will still miss the Tokyo Olympics starting in July as the ban runs until 14 November.
He can, however, defend his world indoor and outdoor titles next year.
Cas “partially upheld” the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) ruling but found his “degree of negligence to be lower”.
Coleman, who won 100m gold at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, was first provisionally suspended in June 2020 after missing a third test in December 2019.
The indoor 60m world record holder did not contest his first missed test on 16 January 2019 but disputed his filing failure on 26 April 2019 and whereabouts failure on 9 December.
The AIU investigation into his rule violations said there was no suggestion he had ever taken a banned substance.
However, Coleman’s attitude towards his anti-doping obligations was described as “entirely careless, perhaps even reckless” by the AIU in October.
According to the AIU’s out-of-competition testing guidelines, 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 he was Christmas shopping “five minutes away” from home, and that the tester made no effort to contact him during his third whereabouts failure.
Cas said Coleman “should have been on ‘high alert’ on that day” considering his previous whereabouts failures, but decided “he would have been able to return” in time to do a test if contacted.
“Although a telephone call during the 60-minute window was not required by the rules, it was nevertheless reasonable for the athlete to expect such a call, as a matter of standard practice among other doping control officers,” Cas said in a statement.