Defending Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal will not defend her title in Tokyo 2020. McNeal, who was allowed to compete at the US Trials, is banned for five years.

McNeal was sanctioned in April by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal after “tampering within the results management process”. 

“As a result of today’s CAS decision, the Athlete will serve five years of ineligibility from 15 August 2020. She will not, therefore, compete at this year’s Olympic Games,” Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a release.

McNeal’s sanction means Gabbi Cunningham, who finished fourth at the US Olympic Trials, takes McNeal’s place on the team for Tokyo.

Athletics Integrity Unit Release:
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) acknowledges the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision today (2 July) to dismiss Brianna McNeal’s appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal that she committed a violation of Tampering with Doping Control, a breach of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.

The athlete appealed against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s finding that she had intentionally altered medical evidence on two different occasions during the results management process for a whereabouts failure. Since the Tampering violation represented her second anti-doping rule violation, the Disciplinary Tribunal imposed a period of ineligibility of 5 years. The Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision can be read here.

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The athlete appealed the Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision to CAS and the AIU cross-appealed. Pending the appeals, the CAS provisionally stayed the Disciplinary Tribunal decision to allow her to compete at the US Olympic Trials where she proceeded to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The CAS decision today dismisses the athlete’s appeal and confirms the Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision in full.  The decision partially upholds the AIU’s cross-appeal and orders the additional disqualification of the athlete’s results between 13 February 2020 and 14 August 2020. The CAS Operative Award can be read here. The detailed CAS decision will be published in due course.

As a result of today’s CAS decision, the Athlete will serve a 5-year period of ineligibility from 15 August 2020. She will not therefore compete at this year’s Olympic Games.

By Mark Titus

A Berlin based journalist who covers the European circuit.

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