Reigning world 100m champion Christian Coleman has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after a third missed drugs test.
The independent body, which combats anti-doping, announced on Wednesday that Coleman had been issued a charge in relation to a “whereabouts failure.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) “whereabouts” system requires athletes to let anti-doping officials know where they’ll be for one hour every day, as well as details of overnight accommodation and training venues.
If an athlete fails to do so and commits a “filing failure” three times over a 12-month period, they could face punishment.
The American sprinter posted a lengthy statement on his Twitter page Tuesday admitting he missed a drugs test on December 9, 2019 – the third missed test in the space of a year – but alleges he was set up by the anti-doping body who failed to contact him by phone, and claims that it was a “purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test.”
Coleman said he had been Christmas shopping “five minutes away” but had no idea a tester had visited his address, for one of the tests.
He also claims the AIU tester wrote an incorrect address on his unsuccessful attempt form, questioning whether the tester even came to the location.
“Don’t tell me I ‘missed’ a test if you sneak up on my door (parked outside the gate and walked through … there’s no record of anyone coming to my place) without my knowledge,” he wrote.
“And, I’ve been tested multiple times since, even during quarantine. But, of course, that doesn’t matter, and the fact that I have never taken drugs doesn’t matter either.”
Coleman’s other two failures had occurred on January 16, 2019, and April 26, 2019.
In a statement to CNN, the AIU said it would not comment on the specifics of an ongoing case but confirmed its officers are instructed not to phone ahead.
“Any advanced notice of testing, in the form of a phone call or otherwise, provides an opportunity for athletes to engage in tampering or evasion or other improper conduct which can limit the efficacy of testing,” the statement read.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also said it would not comment on the specifics of the ongoing case but confirmed it was collaborating with the AIU.
“As in all cases, a person charged with a potential anti-rule violation is presumed innocent unless and until found to have committed a violation through the established process,” a statement read.
CNN has reached out to USA Track and Field (USATF) and Coleman’s representatives for comment.
The sprint star only narrowly avoided being banned last year after three violations of the “whereabouts” rules across 2018 and 2019.
However, his case was dropped due to a technicality over dates, which brought criticism from other athletes. The decision allowed him to compete at the World Athletics Championships in Doha last September.
Coleman claimed victory in Doha with the sixth-fastest 100m in history (9.76 seconds). He also added a second gold in the men’s 4 x 100m relay.
He has continuously denied ever taking drugs and recently spoke to CNN Sport before news of his latest missed test.
“I’ve definitely been tested a lot of times since the World Championships,” he said.
“Since the quarantine started I haven’t really been tested like that. I think maybe one or two times.”