Christian Coleman cannot be face of athletics after missed tests – Michael Johnson

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Michael Johnson: Christian Coleman can never be the face of athletics
2019 World Athletics Championships
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Dates: 27 September-6 October
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website and app; Listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live; Live streams, clips and text commentary online.

Sprinter Christian Coleman cannot be the face of athletics following the controversy over his missed drugs tests, says US legend Michael Johnson.

The US Anti-Doping Agency charged Coleman with missing three tests in 12 months before withdrawing the claim.

The 23-year-old American is the fastest man in the world over 100m this year.

“It completely disqualifies him, at this point, from ever being that face of the sport. This will follow him, as it should,” Johnson told BBC Sport.

“I think this is an incredibly important issue around the sport because Christian Coleman was being touted to replace Usain Bolt as the big star of the sport.

“I don’t think that will happen now as a result of this. I think that fans of athletics don’t have any tolerance at this point for any sort of doping infraction.”

Coleman is world indoor champion over 60m and won silver in the 100m at the last World Championships in London two years ago. His 9.81 seconds in the 100m at the Diamond League in California in June is the fastest time in the world this year.

In response to the controversy, he has said he has “never failed a drug test and never will”.

“It’s simply disrespectful when fake fans speculate and talk about drugs in relation to the great athletes we have in this sport,” wrote Coleman on social media.

“It does nothing but hold the sport back from the popularity I know it can reach in the future.”

Lord Coe, president of athletics’ world governing body the IAAF, defended Coleman.

“Most athletes have a network of support around them to remind them, so one missed whereabouts should ring serious alarm bells,” he said.

“The decision that Wada and the US Anti-Doping Agency took, to review those regulations and to make sure there’s no anomalies, I am glad they reviewed that.

“It’s a grown-up, sensible approach. I am pleased Coleman is here and I want to make sure he is given every opportunity to be one of the faces of these championships.

“We have to be very careful not to play fast and loose with the reputation of athletes.”


What was Coleman accused of and why was charge dropped?

The US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) said Coleman had missed drugs tests on 6 June last year, and 16 January and 26 April this year – with three missed tests in a 12-month triggering an automatic one-year ban.

However, the charge against the American was withdrawn after Usada received guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) says a “filing failure” – failing to update details of the athlete’s daily whereabouts – should be deemed to have occurred on the first day of the quarter, so Coleman argued the first of those failures should be marked down as 1 April, 2018, meaning he did not have three failures in 12 months.


“Let’s be clear, Usada made a huge mistake by bringing a case against him when their own rules basically state that he had two, not missed tests, but whereabouts violations, as opposed to the three, and they then had to withdraw their case against him,” former Olympic 200m and 400m champion Johnson told the BBC Breakfast Show.

“In fairness to Christian Coleman, there is a huge difference between positive tests – or even missing tests – and this situation.

Manchester City won the Community Shield on penalties after edging Liverpool in an entertaining game in front of a raucous Wembley.

Van Dijk – one of three Liverpool players nominated for the Fifa Best award last week – was unlucky not to equalise when his shot went over Bravo but hit the underside of the bar and bounced onto the line.

But the Dutchman did set up Matip’s equaliser after City failed to sufficiently clear Jordan Henderson’s free-kick.

Salah really should have won the game for Liverpool. One shot looped off Zinchenko and hit the roof of the net, before he took advantage of Rodri’s mistake only to be denied by Bravo.

And the big moment was when he had a shot saved by Bravo, but turned the rebound over the keeper into what appeared to be an empty net before the fantastic intervention of Walker.

On to penalties it went and Bravo’s save from Wijnaldum was the difference.

What can we read into the Community Shield?

It is probably foolhardy to draw too many conclusions into the game.

City and Liverpool produced one of the great title races last season, with Pep Guardiola’s side beating Klopp’s men by 98 points to 97.

Another great battle is expected, and there is no doubt this is now a big rivalry, a new ‘derby’ between two of Europe’s great sides.

Before the game there were the usual mind games by the managers, barbs about spending from Klopp that Guardiola did not appreciate.

Both clubs’ anthems – You’ll Never Walk Alone and Blue Moon – were passionately and deafeningly booed by the opposition fans.

Guardiola got so animated at giving instructions at one stage during a break in play that he came onto the pitch and was shown a yellow card, one of football’s new laws this summer.

But in terms of the football itself, many players were missing full fitness after shortened pre-seasons. The Copa America, Africa Cup of Nations and Uefa Nations League finals have all been this summer.

Sergio Aguero, Mane and Ederson were among the men who will come back into their respective teams. And fitness levels too will improve as the season goes on.

Man of the match – Claudio Bravo

Bravo saves a penalty
As well as stopping the crucial penalty, Claudio Bravo made seven saves in the game

‘No team can dominate for 90 minutes’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on BT Sport: “An incredible final from both sides. No team can dominate for 90 minutes. We had real good moments. In the last 15 minutes we were exhausted and they had chances to win the game.

“It was a good test for both teams. It’s nice for the players to realise what they will face this season. At this level the difference is nothing. One penalty, one point.

“Manchester United will be back, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea… I don’t know what will happen.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on BT Sport: “Wow, it was a really good performance, a powerful one in the second half. Both teams had a similar pre-season. I spoke to Kevin de Bruyne after the game and we both said we don’t really know where we are yet.

“The least we deserved was the equaliser, one save decided it and I cannot be disappointed today. The performance was much more important than a win. We know we are still here, we can still play proper football.”

VVD finally beaten – the key stats

  • Manchester City have won the Community Shield for a sixth time and are the first side to retain the trophy since Arsenal in August 2015.
  • City are the first side to win the Community Shield having won both the Premier League and the FA Cup in the previous season since Arsenal in August 2002 (beating Liverpool 1-0).
  • Including penalty shootout defeats, only Manchester United and Chelsea (nine each) have ended up on the losing side on more occasions in the Community Shield final than Liverpool (seven – level with Arsenal).
  • In all competitions, Man City have won just two of their last 13 meetings with Liverpool (D4 L7), however they are unbeaten in their last three games against the Reds (W1 D2).
  • Raheem Sterling’s opener for Manchester City was his first goal against his former side Liverpool in what was his 11th appearance against them across all competitions.
  • Virgil van Dijk was dribbled past for the first time in his last 65 competitive appearances (by Gabriel Jesus) for Liverpool, since Mikel Merino did so for Newcastle in March 2018.

Granada go top of La Liga with win over Real Betis

Granada v Real Betis
Real Betis dropped into the relegation zone with the defeat

Granada went to the top of La Liga with victory over Real Betis.

The Andalusian club, who were promoted from the second tier in the summer, took advantage of El Clasico being postponed to move up from sixth to top with 20 points from 10 games.

Former Betis player Alvaro Vadillo scored the only goal with a close-range finish from Carlos Fernandez’s pass.

Granada are one point above Barcelona, Real Sociedad – who beat Celta Vigo 1-0 on Sunday – and Atletico Madrid.

Champions Barcelona could go back to the top on Tuesday if they beat Real Valladolid, with a full set of La Liga fixtures during the week.