Christian Coleman: Lord Coe says athletes should not 'minimise' whereabouts rule

Sprinter Christian Coleman holds up the USA flag after winning the 100m title at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar
Christian Coleman won the world 100m title in Doha last year

No athlete should "minimise the importance of the whereabouts rule", says World Athletics president Sebastian Coe after Christian Coleman missed three doping tests.

The world 100m champion, 24, is provisionally suspended while he disputes the third whereabouts failure.

The American claims he was Christmas shopping near his home and the tester made no effort to contact him.

"It's not a good story [for athletics]," Lord Coe told BBC Sport.

"And it's not a good story because whereabouts are really a very important part of our landscape."

Coleman said he had "never and will never use performance-enhancing supplements or drugs" after his third missed test on 9 December was revealed earlier this month.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said it did not regard Coleman's explanation for the missing test as a defence, as it was not their policy to call an athlete if they were not at the designated address.

"It's not really our policy to comment on unresolved cases - this is now quite properly a matter for the AIU," said Coe.

However, he said the whereabouts rules were "absolutely a part of our landscape and the vast majority of athletes accept them and actually welcome them as being a protective mechanism for them".

He added: "No athlete should minimise the importance of the whereabouts rule. The whereabouts rule is to protect the athletes, it's to protect their reputations and it's to make sure that we move as hard and as fast as we can to drug-free sport.

"It's one hour a day - this is not arcane maritime law, this is not complicated.

"The vast majority of athletes make sure they don't miss those tests. They have to take it seriously."

Coleman - who won his first major title at the World Championships in Doha last year - had previously missed a test on 16 January 2019 and experienced a filing failure on 26 April 2019.

Three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period can result in a ban of up to two years by the AIU.

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