American sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson has tested positive for cannabis with four weeks to go until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to multiple reports.
She was one of the favourites for gold, having run the second fastest 100m time in the world this year.
Her agent, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and USA Track and Field (USATF) have not commented on the allegations though the New York Times reports that other athletes who raced against her in last month’s trials have already been told they will move up a spot in the 100m standings, after she won the event.
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Richardson reportedly returned the positive test after that race, but details are sketchy. Though there has not been official confirmation, she tweeted a cryptic “I am human” and she is due to appear on a US breakfast TV show this morning.
There is a possibility that she could still compete in Tokyo. Cannabis is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency but should the positive test be confirmed, Richardson’s ban could be as short as one month if she proves she took the drug recreationally and not for sports performance - and then takes place in an approved treatment programme. However, if she cannot do that, a suspension of four years could be imposed.
If she does receive a one month ban, and it is back-dated to the trials, Richardson would likely be cleared to run. Should it be slightly later than that and she misses the individual event, it is possible that she could still compete in the relay, subject to selection.
Although there is still much to be confirmed, if Richardson is banned, she would be able to appeal any sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The heats of the women’s 100m begin in Tokyo on Friday 30 July.
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