(Reuters) – World 100 meters favorite Christian Coleman is eligible to compete in this month’s world championships after a whereabouts charge against the American sprinter was withdrawn by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Monday.
The case in which USADA had charged Coleman with three failures to properly file whereabouts information in a 12-month period, a potential anti-doping violation, had been scheduled to go to arbitration on Wednesday.
“Every athlete is entitled to a presumption of innocence until their case is concluded through the established legal process,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement.
“This is certainly the case for Mr. Coleman, who has been found by USADA not to have committed a whereabouts violation and is fully eligible to compete under the rules.”
USADA said in a statement that it withdrew the charges after receiving guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“USADA has determined that under the applicable rules, and in order to ensure that Coleman is treated consistently with other athletes under the World Anti-Doping Program, Coleman should not be considered to have three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period,” the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said.
“Accordingly, USADA has withdrawn its charge that Coleman committed an anti-doping rule violation.”
The 23-year-old Coleman, the year’s fastest man and 2017 world 100m silver medalist, could have been banned for up to two years and missed the world championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics if the arbitration panel had upheld the charges.
The case is still subject to appeal by WADA or the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Athletics Integrity Unit but that is unlikely.
USADA said in 2018 and 2019 Coleman has provided his whereabouts information by the start of each quarter and has been tested on 20 separate occasions by the U.S. agency.
Under WADA’s interpretation of the whereabouts rules, which USADA received on Friday, Coleman’s first failure should have been dated to the first day of the quarter in which he failed to make a filing.
That would have been April 1, 2018, instead of the date it actually occurred, June 6, 2018.
Thus Coleman’s third filing failure, which USADA said occurred on April 26, 2019, was outside the 12-month window.
Coleman, who will run the 100 and 200 meters at the Doha world championships, was not immediately available to comment.
He said in a statement last week: “I am confident the upcoming hearing on September 4 will clear the matter and I will compete at the world championships in Doha this fall”.