Houlihan can compete at U.S. trials despite ban - USTA

Houlihan denied knowingly ingesting the substance and said she was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The 28-year-old American record-holder said this week the Athletics Integrity Unit informed her in January that a test showed she had returned an "adverse analytical finding" for nandrolone.   -  REUTERS

Shelby Houlihan will be allowed to compete in the 1500m and 5000m at the US Olympic trials despite receiving a four-year ban for testing positive for an anabolic steroid pending an appeal, USA Track & Field (USATF) said on Thursday.

The 28-year-old American record-holder said this week the Athletics Integrity Unit informed her in January that a test showed she had returned an "adverse analytical finding" for nandrolone.

Houlihan denied knowingly ingesting the substance and said she was innocent of any wrongdoing.

ALSO READ | Shelby Houlihan maintains innocence after four-year doping ban

"Given there is an active appeal process, USATF will allow any athletes to continue competing until the process is completed," USATF Managing Director of Communications Susan Hazzard said in a written statement.

A start list for Friday's events, when the trials are set to get undwrway in Eugene, Oregon, show Houlihan is registered to compete in the 1500m and 5000m events.

AIU objects to Houlihan run at U.S. trials

The Athletics Integrity Unit said on Thursday it has written to USA Track & Field to stress that middle distance runner Shelby Houlihan was prohibited from competing in this month's Olympic trials.

The AIU said it had written the USATF and that the 28-year-old's participation was "strictly prohibited."

"A final and binding (Court of Arbitration for Sport) decision confirmed that Ms. Houlihan committed Anti-Doping Rule Violations and was subject to a period of four (4) years beginning 14 January 2021," the organisation said in a written statement.

The USATF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Houlihan said this week the AIU informed her in January that a test showed she had returned an "adverse analytical finding" for nandrolone. She denied knowingly ingesting the substance and said she was innocent of any wrongdoing, saying in an announcement posted on social media that a pork burrito she ate the night prior to the test was likely to blame.

A group of athletes, including 2016 3,000 metre steeplechase bronze medalist Emma Coburn, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden and marathon runner Molly Seidel, penned an open letter voicing their objection to Houlihan's participation.

"It creates an opportunity for athletes convicted of doping to compete in the future, which is not a standard that's ever been applied in the past," the athletes said in a letter issued via the Clean Sport Collective.

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