The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has today welcomed the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to impose a two-year ban on Emirati middle-distance runner Betlhem Desalegn after finding she had committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).
Ethiopian-born Desalegn was charged by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for a doping offence in 2016 on the basis of an abnormal longitudinal profile in the context of the world governing body’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) Programme.
Following a decision of the United Arab Emirates National Anti-Doping Agency, Desalegn was initially cleared of a doping offence on the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The IAAF immediately exercised its right of appeal to the CAS and re-imposed a provisional suspension upon Desalegn in an attempt to help preserve the integrity of athletics competition at Rio 2016.
In a subsequent decision, the UAE Athletics Federation imposed a reduced sanction of 15 months, which was again appealed to CAS by the IAAF.
CAS has now found that Desalegn had committed an ADRV as a result of likely use of a prohibited substance or method.
As well as imposing a full two-year period of ineligibility, the body has disqualified Desalegn's results from March 6, 2014 through to July 22, 2016.
"This is the 94th doping case successfully brought forward by the IAAF in the context of its ABP Programme, by far the most successful to date across all sports and all countries," an AIU statement reads.
Desalegn won the women’s 1,500 metres and 5,000m titles at both the 2013 and 2015 Asian Championships held in Indian city Pune and Wuhan in China respectively.
At last year’s Asian Indoor Championships in Qatar’s capital Doha, she topped the podium in the 1,500m and 3,000m events.
Desalegn finished 12th in heat three of the 1,500m competition at the London 2012 Olympics.