Tobi Amusan’s Missed Test Saga: Of Suspension and Implications

-Ikenna Okafor

Nigerian 110m hurdle sensation, Tobi Amusan, made a shocking announcement on Wednesday through her Twitter handle, revealing that she has been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for missing three drug tests. The sprint superstar expressed her fear and frustration, vehemently claiming her innocence while posting “tested in three days.”

According to the AIU rules, any athlete who misses tests within a 12-month period is deemed guilty of an anti-doping rule violation. The penalty for such violations includes a two-year suspension, which may be reduced to a minimum of one year based on the degree of fault.

UKathletics statistics suggest that missing one test is relatively common among elite athletes, and there have been cases of two missed tests within a year. Despite athletes often claiming innocence, only a few have successfully avoided a ban from the sport.

In her post, Amusan stated, “Today (Wednesday), the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has charged me with an alleged rule violation for having three missed tests in 12 months. I intend to fight this charge and will have my case decided by a tribunal of 3 arbitrators before the start of next month’s World Championships.”

The implications of this development include the automatic disqualification of the results in the competition that produced the positive sample under Article 9 (Automatic Disqualification of Individual Results). Furthermore, all other competition results obtained from the date of the positive sample collection, whether in-competition or out-of-competition, will also be affected.

The AIU emphasizes that testing is conducted to deter athletes from making doping decisions and to identify those who resort to cheating by using banned substances. Testing can occur in competition at events or out-of-competition during training or even at an athlete’s residence.

The anti-doping body has revealed that Tobi Amusan’s charge will be subject to determination by the disciplinary tribunal before the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Hungary, next month.

Unless Amusan can prove her innocence, a missed drugs test is considered as serious as testing positive, under the sport’s rules. The ramifications for her incredible achievements over the past year are now uncertain, as she faces the prospect of a two-year ban and the potential of missing the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Hungary and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.