Jarrod Bannister. Photo: Getty Images
Australian javelin star Jarrod Bannister, a dual Olympian and former national champion, has been banned for 20 months after missing three drug tests.
The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist was banned for less than the maximum two years because the Court of Arbitration for Sport recognised he had not deliberately tried to dodge the tests and that there were extenuating circumstances for missing the third test during an 18-month period.
It is understood a mix-up between Bannister and Athletics Australia over international accommodation contributed to the third of the missed drug tests.
Bannister said the findings of arbitrator Alan Sullivan, SC, should force Athletics Australia, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the World Anti-Doping Agency to review their procedures for dealing with athletes' whereabouts.
Bannister criticised Athletics Australia for deficiencies in its handling of athletes and warned other competitors to diarise movements.
"It was found that there was no deliberate action by myself to avoid being tested, that finding is consistent with my defence submissions at the hearing on June 21, 2013," Bannister said. "Naturally I am still deeply disappointed at receiving the period of ineligibility. To safeguard other athletes, especially Australian athletes, I would encourage them to be vigilant when dealing with Athletics Australia and ASADA."
He urged athletes that, when accommodated by Athletics Australia, they should still ask to check the room list daily and make sure all correspondence with AA was in writing, not just verbal. He admitted he had taken his responsibilities on keeping authorities informed of his whereabouts too lightly.
"I do hope that Athletics Australia, ASADA and WADA take on board the comments by Mr Sullivan, based on those comments those organisations should review their operations and procedures. There are deficiencies in the way these organisations go about their business," he said.
"I hope that what has happened to me does not happen to any other athlete. From now until February 18, 2015, I will train harder then ever to ensure my return to competition is successful."
Athletics Australia chief executive Dallas O'Brien said in a statement that Bannister's ban was disappointing and acknowledged AA needed to look at how it could do more to help athletes.
"We are disappointed that Jarrod did not meet his obligations as one of our top performing athletes and this case demonstrates the need for all athletes to be diligent and responsible," O'Brien added.