Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser has retained the services of Trinidadian attorneys and barristers Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, who will be her representatives in upcoming anti-doping proceedings for whereabouts violations before an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal.

Naser, 22, the 2019 World Championships Women 400m champion, was provisionally suspended on June 4, 2020, under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code. According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Naser missed four drug tests within the last year, which amounts to an anti-doping violation.

The athlete has declared her innocence.

“I’ve never been a cheat. I will never be,” she said. “I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.”

Consequently, Dr Crowne, of the firm New City Chambers, told Sportsmax.TV on Sunday that he is now representing the beleaguered world champion.

“I don’t want to reveal too much about our strategy, save to say that we’ve denied the charges and reserved all of Ms Naser’s defences – including the right to seek a reduction in the period of Ineligibility, if any, and the fairness of disqualifying any applicable competitive results,” Dr Crowne said.

The AIU was investigating the third of Naser’s missed tests in October 2019 while the transplanted Nigerian was winning her first world title in Doha. She won in 48.14, the third-fastest time in history while upsetting the heavy pre-race favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

According to the AIU, a fourth missed test occurred in January 2020.

“The investigation into Ms Naser’s three whereabouts failures in 2019 was ongoing at the time of the Doha World Championships and she was not provisionally suspended at that time. Following the conclusion of the investigation and a fourth whereabouts failure in January 2020, a Notice of Charge was issued and Ms Naser was subject to an immediate provisional suspension,” the AIU said in a statement on the matter.

The independent Disciplinary Tribunal hears and determines all first instance disciplinary cases under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules or the World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct.

The Disciplinary Tribunal is chaired by Charles Hollander QC and it currently has a panel of 47 tribunal members from 31 different countries covering all six areas recognised by World Athletics. The secretariat to the Disciplinary Tribunal is managed by Sport Resolutions, an independent dispute resolution service based in London, UK.

Dr Crowne, who is handling this matter pro bono, has had prior success in matters involving alleged whereabouts violations. He represented Jamaican 400m runner Riker Hylton, who was cleared of similar anti-doping violations in 2017.

Source: Leighton Levy