© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Ostrava Golden Spike – Municipal Stadium, Ostrava, Czech Republic – May 19, 2021 Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA on track to win the Women’s 200m REUTERS / David W Cerny / File Photo
By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will not be selected for the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after she agreed to a month-long ban for testing positive for cannabis.
The 21-year-old, who achieved victory in the 100 meters at the United States Olympic trials in June, was expected to be one of the biggest draws at the upcoming Games in Japan.
His fans hoped he would still be able to compete in the relay event after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirmed the suspension last week.
“We are incredibly understanding of Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her responsibility, and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track,” USA Track & Field (USATF) said in a written statement.
Richardson said in an NBC interview last week that he used the banned substance to cope with his mother’s death.
Richardson’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The women’s 100-meter event in Tokyo begins on July 30, two days after her ban ends, but she cannot compete in the event as her suspension erased her test results.
Selection for the relay team was his only remaining chance to compete in games. Relay coaches, with input from the USATF performance staff, may select two athletes in addition to the first four finalists from the trials.
“All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as a National Governing Body would be lost if the rules were only enforced under certain circumstances,” the USATF said.
The organization added that it believes that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules regarding THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, “would be re-evaluated.”
“While our sincerest understanding is of Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all athletes who tried to make their dreams come true by securing a spot on the US Olympic Track and Field Team,” he said.
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