Geneva: World 100m champion Christian Coleman's suspension over doping test violations has been upheld on appeal but reduced to 18 months, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday.
Even with the reduced sentence, the 25-year-old American, who would have been favourite to take gold at that distance at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, will not be able to participate in the Games.
Coleman was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit last December for two years from 14 May, 2020 after failing to turn up for tests three times in a 12-month-period.
"Christian Coleman's appeal was partially upheld and he will serve a reduced period of ineligibility of 18 months as from 14 May, 2020," the Lausanne-based CAS said in a statement.
The appeals court for sports said its panel had determined that Coleman "indeed committed an anti-doping rule violation under article 2.4 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules."
But it said it "found the athlete's degree of negligence to be lower than that established" in the previous ruling.
Coleman, it said, was "not at home during the 60-minute time slot on the day of the out-of-competition doping control" on 9 December, 2019.
On this day, it said, he should indeed have been there, and he "should have been on 'high-alert' on that day, given the two existing whereabout failures against him."
However, CAS said, "had the athlete been called by the doping control officer, he would have been able to return to his apartment during the 60-minute window and a test would have been concluded."
"Although a telephone call during the 60-minute window was not required by the rules, it was nevertheless reasonable for the athlete to expect such a call, as a matter of standard practice among other doping control officers," it ruled.
"In conclusion, the CAS panel determined that an 18-month period of ineligibility was the appropriate sanction in the circumstances."
To prove an anti-doping violation, an athlete has to have committed three 'whereabouts' failures within 12 months.
Coleman, who is also the 60 metres world record holder, previously escaped suspension on a technicality ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Qatar.