By Iain Axon
DOHA (Reuters) – United States sprinter Christian Coleman, only cleared to compete at the world athletics championships after a charge of breaking the anti-doping whereabouts rule was withdrawn, told Reuters television on Tuesday that he was “running clean”.
The 23-year-old has run the fastest 100 metres time this year and is among the favourites to win the 100 metres and 200 metres at the competition in Doha.
He was charged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with three failures to properly file whereabouts information in a 12-month period but escaped what should have been an automatic ban when it was ruled that one of the tests had to be backdated to outside the window.
“My message to fans… I’m running clean. I don’t really know what else to say, I explained the situation,” said Coleman.
“I don’t take any performance-enhancing drugs. I don’t take anything legal or illegal. I just work hard with my God-given talent and abilities. And just continue to do that.”
Coleman had been charged because athletes are required to notify anti-doping officials where they can be reached for a certain period daily.
If testers are unable to contact the athlete at the designated location three times within a 12-month period, they are considered to have committed an anti-doping violation and subject to a ban of up to two years.
“I will remember to update the App every time I make a move or anything like that,” he said. “My whole life I have just ran track and I have just continued and taken it to the next level.
“I just go out there and compete to the best of my abilities.”
Coleman will face a stiff challenge from defending 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin, 37, and 22-year-old Noah Lyles.
“It is going to take something pretty quick. It is going to take something fast,” he said.
He added that he had a “silent, competitive rivalry” with Gatlin.
“Of course, like I see him all the time, we practise the relay and we talk from time to time. But we never really talk about the race or anything like that even though we are both one of the favourites to win, one of like many,” he said.
“I just try to focus on one person. We are at a world championships. So it is a world class field, anybody can take it. So I am just excited about competing against everybody, not just Justin.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)