17th May 2021

US triple jumper banned for whereabouts failures

Omar Craddock has been sanctioned with a 20 month ban for two missed tests and a filing failure, under rules that treat three ‘whereabouts’ failures as an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). Athletes that are members of a Registered Testing Pool (RTP) must file information including their overnight location, competition and training schedules as well as a location where they will be available for testing for one hour in every 24, three months in advance (although this can later be amended). If they are not where they say they will be, that constitutes a ‘missed test’. If the filed information is judged to be inaccurate or incomplete, that constitutes a ‘filing failure’. 

Craddock missed a test on 20 August 2019, was charged with a filing failure on 1 April 2020, and missed another test on 29 July 2020. The US triple jumper only contested the 20 August 2019 missed test. His whereabouts said that he would be at the Chula Vista training centre near San Diego, whereas he was training in The Netherlands / Belgium.

Craddock argued that he believed that he had updated his whereabouts information, but the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics argued that he had simply forgotten. Although Craddock said that he ‘believed’ the whereabouts information had been updated, the AIU produced evidence that there had been no login to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) application used to file whereabouts until the day of his missed test.

Because it listed his address as a facility that had been closed, Craddock’s filing failure was easy to spot…

‘There is no suggestion by the AIU that the Athlete was trying to avoid being available for testing during this 12-month period’, reads the full Decision (PDF below). Due to USA Track & Field (USATF) training schedules, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics would have known that Craddock was in Europe and not San Diego on 20 August 2019. It also knew that his whereabouts information for the second quarter of 2020 was inaccurate, due to the closure of the Chula Vista training facility due to Covid-19 and because it contained information regarding competitions that had been cancelled.

However, the fact that he had updated his whereabouts information whilst travelling during the same month worked against him. ‘As is clear from the record, the Athlete travelled extensively during the month of August’, continues the Decision. ‘On 12, 21, 24, 25 and 27 August he duly submitted his Whereabouts updates while travelling. I see no valid reason which would explain his failure to discharge his obligation to update his Whereabout on 19 August and thereby avoid the Missed Test between 06:00 and 07:00 PST in Chula Vista, California on 20 August 2019.’

Craddock argued that due to world events, his filing failure should be disregarded…

In reducing Craddock’s ban by four months from the standard two year ban applicable in whereabouts cases, the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal took into account his preoccupied mental state. ‘That mental state, in my judgment, impacted his behaviour and may explain, to a certain extent, why he overlooked his Whereabouts obligations’, reads the Decision. ‘These events include: The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic; The infection of his own roommate who contracted Covid-19; The uncertainty about the testing of athletes during these months; The cancellation of the World Indoor Championships; The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics; and last, but not least, the murder of George Floyd.’

Craddock’s ban will run from 13 November 2020 to 13 July 2022, two days before the start of the Oregon 2022 World Championships. He will also miss the postponed Tokyo 2022 Olympics.

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