American sprinting ace Christian Coleman is free to race at the upcoming World Championships after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dropped a charge against him.
The 23-year-old, the fastest man in the world for the past three years, was accused of three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period which could have led to a two-year ban.
USADA, who claimed they were acting on advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has now confirmed that his first alleged failure, a filing error, has been pushed back to the first day of the quarter and subsequently out of the 12-month window.
Athletes in all sports must register their whereabouts at certain times so they can be drug-tested at random.
Missing three tests in 12 months is the equivalent of a doping failure.
"USADA recorded a filing failure for Coleman on June 6, 2018, when a doping control officer attempted to test Coleman and discovered that he had failed to update his whereabouts filing to accurately reflect his location," USADA said.
"Coleman was subsequently charged with whereabouts failures on January 16 and April 26, 2019.
"Based on these three failures USADA initiated a case against Coleman for three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period.
"However, based on a comment in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) that states that filing failures relate back to the first day of the quarter, Coleman contended that his failure to update which was discovered on June 6, 2018, should relate back to April 1, 2018, which would be more than 12 months prior to Coleman's most recent whereabouts failure on April 26, 2019.
"As a result, USADA consulted with WADA to receive an official interpretation of the relevant comment in the ISTI.
"This interpretation was received on Friday, August 30, 2019, and was that the filing failure which USADA had recorded in June 2018 should relate back to April 1, 2018, the first day of the quarter in which the failure to update occurred.
"Given these facts, USADA has determined that under the applicable rules, and in order to ensure that Coleman is treated consistently with other athletes under the World Anti-Doping Programme, Coleman should not be considered to have three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period.
"Accordingly, USADA has withdrawn its charge that Coleman committed an anti-doping rule violation and has so notified WADA and the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"USADA has determined that the hearing is no longer necessary, and Coleman is permitted to compete immediately."
Coleman was facing missing the IAAF World Championships, due to begin in Doha on September 27, and next year's Olympics in Tokyo.
He clocked the joint-seventh-quickest 100 metres time in history with 9.79sec in Brussels last year and has two silver medals from the IAAF World Championships, in the 100m and 4x100m relay from London 2017.
Other accolades include world indoor gold over 60m in Birmingham last year, while he won the American national title over 100m in July.
Some have alleged that he has escaped charge due to a "loophole" and "technicality", and both WADA and the IAAF have the right to appeal.
However, USADA revealed Coleman had been subject to 20 drug tests during 2018-2019.
"Consistent application of the global anti-doping rules is essential in every case," said USADA chief executive Travis Tygart.
"In this case we applied the rules to Mr. Coleman in the manner that USADA understands should be applied to any other International-level athlete.
"We must approach every case with the primary goal of delivering fairness to athletes under the rules and providing transparency and consistency in order to build their trust and support for the anti-doping system.
"Every athlete is entitled to a presumption of innocence until their case is concluded through the established legal process.
"This is certainly the case for Mr. Coleman, who has been found by USADA not to have committed a whereabouts violation and is fully eligible to compete under the rules."