World Athletics yesterday freed Nigerian-born Bahraini star, Salwa Eid Naser, of an anti-doping violation. The world 400 metres champion formerly known as Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu, was cleared by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal (WADT), which dismissed charges brought against her for registering four “whereabouts failures.”
The 22-year-old, who won gold at the World Championships in Doha last year, was charged and provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in June.
According to World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, any combination of three whereabouts failures — filing failures or missed tests — within a 12-month period by an athlete constitutes an anti-doping violation.
Athletes guilty of whereabouts failures could face two-year bans or a minimum of one year, depending on the degree of fault.
In Naser’s case, the disciplinary tribunal upheld three of the four AIU charges against her — a filing failure effective January 1, 2019 and two missed tests, on March 12 last year and January 24, this year.
However, the tribunal found in Naser’s favour with regard to a third alleged missed test on April 12, 2019, which resulted in the charges being dismissed because her three whereabouts failures did not occur within a 12-month rolling period.
“This was a case very much on the borderline and we hope the athlete will learn from the experience and heed the AIU’s warnings,” the tribunal said in a statement here.
Naser, who was born to Nigerian parents from Anambra State, switched allegiance to Bahrain four years ago and has since won a lot of laurels for her adopted country, including silver at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games; gold at the 2015 Asian Games, and another gold at the 2015 Military Games.
She is a member of Bahrain’s 4x400m women’s quartet tipped to win at least a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The other members of the quartet, who were formerly Nigerians, are Edidiong Odiong, Iman Essa (formerly known as Endurance Udo), and Adekoya.