Monaco, July 1 (IANS) While acknowledging the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) verdict on a two-year suspension of Bahrain's 400m runner Salwa Eid Naser for whereabouts failure in 2019, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has emphasised that the whereabouts clause is an important tool of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and that it shouldn't be ignored by athletes.
"We appreciate this decision as it clarifies the whereabouts requirements for athletes. CAS has accepted these rules are a major part of effective no notice out-of-competition testing, which is a fundamental pillar of the World Anti-Doping Code. It contains a valuable message for all elite athletes that they must take their whereabouts responsibilities seriously," David Howman, Chair of the AIU Board said on Thursday.
"We are grateful that WADA joined the appeal to reinforce the importance of this message."
The CAS verdict, along with the reasons, will be published soon, the AIU said in a statement on Thursday.
The AIU acknowledges Wednesday's decision of the CAS to uphold its appeal, together with that lodged by the WADA, against the ruling of World Athletics' Disciplinary Tribunal (WADT), which absolved Salwa of whereabouts failures.
While accepting that there had been a breach of the anti-doping rules, CAS imposed the maximum period of ineligibility of two years to commence immediately and to run until February 2023.
The two years ineligibility means Salwa can't compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games and 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA.
But the sanction gives credit to the woman athlete for the period of time served under provisional suspension.
The CAS Panel exercised its discretion under the World Athletics (WA) Anti-Doping Rules not to disqualify Salwa's results for the period following the violation on April 12, 2019, until November 2019, which includes the gold medal she won in the 400m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.
The CAS decision was made on the basis that the Bahrain runner was subject to 19 doping tests during this period, none of which returned a positive analysis for doping substances.