I'm 'clean' says suspended Olympic hurdles champ McNeal

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal insisted she was a "clean" athlete on Friday following the second doping-related suspension of career.

In a brief statement released on her Instagram account, the 29-year-old US hurdler revealed she had suffered an ankle sprain and recently tested positive for Covid-19 as well as learning of her suspension on January 14.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said last month that McNeal had been suspended for "tampering" with part of a doping control.

"It has been a tough few weeks, from the news, to spraining my ankle then getting covid in a span of a week," McNeal wrote on social media.

"As far as my situation goes, I am still me! Very clean, very honest and transparent," McNeal added.

"Once all of this blows over I will provide more details of what's actually going on. The system is pretty messed up if you ask me but that's another topic for another day.

"I will be continuing to grind and do my absolute best to stay afloat."

McNeal claimed Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and also won world gold in Moscow in 2013 under her maiden name of Rollins.

She is the owner of the joint fourth-fastest run in 100m hurdles history, having clocked 12.26 seconds in Des Moines in 2013.

But she now faces the prospect of missing the rescheduled Tokyo Games later this year in what will be the second doping-related suspension of her career.

McNeal was previously handed a one-year suspension by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for failing to properly file whereabouts information for out-of-competition testing three times in 2016.

The date of her third and last missed whereabouts report was September 27, just five weeks after her success in Rio.

The ban meant McNeal missed the 2017 world championships in London, but it did not affect the gold she won in Brazil.

The hurdler did complete eight out-of-competition tests over the course of 2016 and did not test positive.

McNeal received the least allowable penalty from USADA after it emerged that for two of the missed tests, post-Rio, she had firstly been traveling to her home state of Florida to be honored and then to meet then-US president Barack Obama at a White House reception for Olympians.