United States table tennis player Kanak Jha has been banned for 12-months for whereabouts failures ©Getty Images

American table tennis player Kanak Jha has been handed a one-year ban for committing three whereabouts doping failures within 12 months.

Jha is the United States' top-ranked player by the International Table Tennis Federation at 24thand won three gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru's capital Lima - gold in the men's team, and bronze in the singles and mixed doubles.

A singles bronze medallist at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics, the now-22-year-old lost in the second round at the re-arranged 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to the Russian Olympic Committee's Kirill Skachkov.

He also played at Rio 2016, where he lost in the first round to Iran's Nima Alamian.

The decision was made by an independent arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association, after the United States Anti-Doping Agency claimed that Jha had missed tests on March 18, June 2 and September 4 last year.

The last of those missed tests was disputed by Jha, alleging the doping control officer "did not do what was 'reasonable in the circumstances'", but this was rejected by the arbitrator.

Gary Johansen found that Jha had committed an anti-doping rule violation, and declared him ineligible for 12 month from December 1 2022, the date of his provisional suspension.

Results between September 4 last year and the provisional suspension have also been disqualified.

Kanak Jha won three medals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, including gold in the men's team event ©Getty Images
Kanak Jha won three medals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, including gold in the men's team event ©Getty Images

Jha could have been suspended for up to two years, but Johansen noted this was his first anti-doping rule violation, and deemed "there is no evidence that respondent sought to avoid being tested, used drugs, masked the use of drugs, or attempted to evade doing controls".

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart stressed the importance of athletes providing accurate whereabouts information for the purposes of anti-doping.

"Athletes providing accurate whereabouts information can be a chore, but it is essential for clean sport, as effective no advance notice, out-of-competition testing is absolutely necessary because many prohibited drugs have short detection windows and without the whereabouts testing process, dopers would win the day," he said.

"More than 2,000 athletes in the USADA testing pools successfully maintain their whereabouts and are available for testing throughout the year, which is a powerful tribute to their commitment to uphold their responsibility and to support clean sport."

USADA also said it provides "comprehensive instruction" on the testing process, prohibited substances, obtaining permission for necessary medication and how to file and update athlete whereabouts.

Jha is just the latest American athlete to be banned for failing to be available drugs testing when they were supposed to be. 

Earlier this month, USADA announced that Tokyo 2020 shot put silver medallist Raven Saunders had been banned for 18-months after she committed three whereabouts failures within the period of a year.

Last December, US sprinter Randolph Ross, who ran for the country in the heats of the 4x100m of Tokyo 2020, was hit with a three-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for three whereabouts failures in the space of as many months.