May 1, 2020 / 3:35 PM / 2 months ago

Sprinter Thomas denies charge after she and Stevens suspended by AIU

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Pontaise Stadium, Lausanne, Switzerland - July 5, 2018 Gabrielle Thomas of the U.S. celebrates winning the Women's 200m REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) - American sprinter Gabrielle Thomas said on Friday she expected to be cleared of charges by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of failing to make herself available for anti-doping tests.

The 23-year-old and fellow American Deajah Stevens earlier in the day were provisionally suspended by the AIU for allegedly missing three tests in a 12-month period, a violation of anti-doping rules.

“I am confident that at least one of these missed tests is not valid and that I will be completely cleared,” Thomas, twice a 200m winner at the Lausanne Diamond League, said in a statement made available to Reuters by her agent.

“Phone tracking data and multiple witnesses will conclusively show that I was at the exact location I established in my whereabouts and that the doping control officer simply failed to locate me and failed to follow proper protocol,” Thomas added.

“Athletes are held to an incredibly high standard and the doping control organizations are supposed to be held to similarly high standards.”

Stevens, who reached the 2016 Rio Olympics 200 metres final, was not immediately available for comment.

The AIU also suspended Kenyan Alex Korio Oloitiptip, who took part in last year’s INEOS 1:59 challenge which saw compatriot Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours.

All three athletes could face a two-year ban.

The AIU also said on Friday Mikel Kiprotich Mutai of Kenya, who won the Hong Kong marathon in 2016, was provisionally suspended for failing a test for the banned substance norandrosterone.

Reporting by Gene Cherry and Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge

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