All eyes on Akani Simbine after Coleman suspended

South Africa's Akani Simbine will be keeping a beady eye on proceedings and his chances in the 100m distance after world champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended on Wednesday.

Reigning world 100m champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended on Wednesday after missing a drug test. He’s now at risk of a two-year ban that would rule him out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

South Africa’s Akani Simbine could move up the results table from the 2019 World Champions if Coleman is banned.

Simbine’s personal best is 9.89 seconds, run in 2016, but the sprinter will be keeping a beady eye on the possibility of becoming the fastest in the world over the shortest distance. Simbine has the world-leading time of 9.91 in 2020 so far.

Simbine finished fourth in Doha last year, which could see him elevated to third if Coleman is banned. Justin Gatlin and Andre de Grasse were second and third respectively.

The American sprinter is “suspended temporarily from participating in any competition or activity”, said the Athletics Integrity Unit, World Athletics’ anti-doping arm.

Coleman, who only narrowly avoided being banned last year after three violations of anti-doping “whereabouts” rules across 2018 and 2019, revealed details of his latest missed test on Twitter.

The world’s fastest man, who clocked 9.76sec to win 100m gold at last year’s World Championships in Doha, said he had unsuccessfully challenged an AIU finding that he missed a test on December 9, 2019.

“And now this might result in me being suspended from other filing failures that occurred well over a year ago at this point,” Coleman said.

The 24-year-old is now barred from competition pending a hearing under World Athletics anti-doping rules, the AIU website said.

Coleman’s impassioned statement on Twitter was accompanied by what appeared to be a copy of his formal notification from the AIU of a missed test.

Coleman, 24, escaped suspension on a technicality ahead of last September’s World Championships after it emerged he had committed three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period.

Those offences were recorded on 6 June 2018, 16 January 2019 and 26 April 2019.

However, Coleman had successfully argued that the first missed case should have been backdated to the first day of the quarter – 1 April 2018 – meaning the three failures fell just outside the required 12-month period.

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Staff Reporter