Salwa Eid Nasser, who won the gold medal for 400 meters at the World Championships in Doha last year has been provisionally suspended from athletics and faces a two year ban from the sport for alleged doping offences.
The 23 year old has been given the ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for infringing the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules which require an athlete to keep a record of where they are for one hour every day in case they need to be tested. Nasser notched-up three such violations in a 12 month period.
Last year Nasser, who was born in Nigeria, but moved to Bahrain when she was 14, made history when she became the first Asian woman to win a world title at that distance. At the time, her time, the third-fastest of all time raised eyebrows, because it was the fastest run by any woman since 1985 and was a second faster than Nasser’s previous best.
The two women ahead of her in the all-time rankings Marita Koch of East Germany and the Czech Jarmila Kratochvlov are long suspected of having achieved their times due to the use of performance enhancing substances, although drug testing programmes at the time were not sophisticated enough to detect it.
Nasser, a former junior world champion also won silver at the same distance at the World Championships in London in 2017. However, although she set a national record on that day, her time was almost two seconds down on the 48.18 seconds she recorded in Doha.
This is not the first time in recent years that female athletes competing for Bahrain have fallen foul of the drug testers. In 2018, Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet, who won gold at the 3000 meter steeplechase in the Rio Olympics, was given a four year ban from athletics after traces of the banned EPO substance were found in her sample.
And last year, Eunice Kirwa, who won silver in the Womens Marathon in Rio was given her own four year ban, after an out of competition test in 2017 again found EPO in her system.