Russian former world champion hurdler Sergei Shubenkov was cleared on Tuesday in a "genuinely exceptional" doping case that was prosecuted in secret ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Shubenkov’s positive test “resulted from his unintentional ingestion of residue from medication being used to treat a family member,” track and field’s Athletics Integrity Unit said in announcing the verdict of an independent tribunal.
The 2015 world champion in 110 meters hurdles tested positive for "a low concentration" of a diuretic called acetazolamide in December.
The AIU said it made “a thorough investigation of the athlete's explanation," and the tribunal ruled Shubenkov “bore no fault or negligence." The three judges “found that it was a ‘genuinely exceptional’ case, accepted the athlete’s plea of no fault or negligence, and rejected the AIU’s request that a period of ineligibility be imposed,” the AIU said.
The verdict can be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the AIU or the World Anti-Doping Agency.
It is unclear if Shubenkov will be selected in the Russia team for Tokyo which is limited to 10 athletes in fallout from the long-running national doping scandal.
The 30-year-old runner took silver medals in the 110 hurdles at the past two world championships and bronze in 2013 in Moscow.
Shubenkov was cleared in March by World Athletics to compete this season at international events as an “authorized neutral athlete.” The "ANA" status is granted as an exemption for Russian athletes whose drug-testing record passes vetting to compete while their national athletics federation is suspended.
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