T&T Olympian Michelle-Lee Ahye will miss this year’s Tokyo Olympics after being banned for two years due to “whereabouts failures,” the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced yesterday.
Ahye, sixth in both the 100 and 200 metres at the 2016 Rio Olympics and again sixth in the 100m at the 2017 London World Championships, was suspended until April 2021.
The reigning national 100 metres champion missed three tests during 12 months across 2018 and ’19 and had been provisionally suspended since August 30 last year.
Yesterday, both T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis and National Association of Athletics Administration of T&T (NAAATT) head Ephraim Serette found the judgment regrettable.
“This is an unfortunate development. Michelle is a hardworking athlete in the prime of her career,” said Lewis on the Olympic sprint finalist and 100m 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
“That said, the rules are clear as they relate to athletes’ responsibilities and the consequences for failing to meet those obligations.
“We remain available to afford the support and guidance to our athletes when setbacks occur in their careers.”
Of the first-time offender, Lewis added: “She competed on a number of occasions between May 2019 and August 2019. Apparently tested (blood or urine) on some 10 occasions. The test results were either negative or yielded no results.”
Elite athletes are bound to declare their location for potential visits by anti-doping officials.
Any combination of three missed tests or filing failures within a 12-month period is considered a violation of anti-doping rules and carries an automatic two-year ban.
The AIU Unit said Ahye’s ban takes effect from April 19, 2019, the date of her last missed test.
Serrette, who is currently in Bahamas attending a North America, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) board meeting, had similar sentiments to Lewis, saying: “This is a very unfortunate development for one of our top female athletes.
She’s in the prime of her athletic career and is a hardworking individual.
“The rules as they are stated in respect to this matter are clear as it relates to the responsibility of the athlete as well as the consequences.
“As an association, we remain committed to partnering with the Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to provide support and guidance more so when these sort of incidents occur.”
The 27-year-old Ahye, who copped silver at the Pan American Games last year, will also see all her results from April 19-August 30, 2019, scrubbed from the record books, according to the AIU, the independent anti-doping watchdog for track and field.
Ahye had been provisionally suspended last August 30, a ruling that saw her already miss last year’s World Championships in Doha.