Brianna McNeal, Olympic hurdles champ, can race Trials while appealing ban

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Brianna McNeal, the Rio Olympic 100m hurdles champion, was banned five years for tampering with part of a doping control process but can compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month while appealing.

Her appeal will be heard before the Tokyo Games, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which announced the ban, backdated to Aug. 15, 2020, on Friday.

Details of McNeal’s case have not been published for confidentiality reasons, according to the AIU.

“Once all of this blows over I will provide more details of what’s actually going on,” was posted on McNeal’s social media in February, three weeks after her provisional suspension was announced while awaiting a hearing on the charges. “The system is pretty messed up if you ask me but that’s another topic for another day.”

It is McNeal’s second suspension over anti-doping rules, which usually carries a lengthier penalty, though neither was for failing a drug test.

“Brianna has not tested positive for any substance banned in the sport of track and field,” McNeal’s agency said in a January statement. “Brianna will request a hearing, where she fully expects to be exonerated and continue her championship career.”

McNeal, 29, led a U.S. medals sweep of the 100m hurdles in Rio.

She missed the 2017 World Championships while serving a one-year ban in a strange case of missing three drug tests in a 12-month span. An arbitration panel believed that McNeal was a clean athlete, showing “no evidence of avoiding testing, masking drug use, or using drugs.”

At the 2019 Worlds, McNeal false started out of the first round of the 100m hurdles.

She did not contest a 100m hurdles race in 2020, but did compete in sprints between 60m and 150m and the indoor 60m hurdles.

McNeal ranks seventh among Americans in the 100m hurdles since the start of 2019. The top three in the Olympic Trials on June 20 go to Tokyo.

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