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16 Jul, 2020 15:59

Power failure: Olympic star banned for missing drugs tests after blaming dead phone battery & stalker who 'wanted to kill fiance'

Power failure: Olympic star banned for missing drugs tests after blaming dead phone battery & stalker who 'wanted to kill fiance'

Olympic finalist sprinter Deajah Stevens will miss the Tokyo Games after missing three drugs tests, having claimed that she had changed her number after a stalker threat and failed to realize her phone had run out of power.

Former American 200m champion Stevens has been banned for 18 months for missing visits from Athletics Integrity Unit officials in West Hollywood and Oregon last year, failing to convince the governing body that she had not heard them at the door and had accidentally allowed her mobile phone to run out of power.

The 25-year-old also claimed that she had not been at one of her stated residences during the 60-minute testing window because she was being harassed by an unknown individual who had sent her text messages and repeatedly created new numbers in order to continue contacting her when she changed her number.

Stevens said that on one visit from the unit she had gone to stay with her fiance in Minnesota after a threat was made to his life, adding that she had also had her name removed from a building directory over fears for her personal safety.

During an attempt to carry out a test by two experienced inspectors at 5am last August, Stevens said she had been sleeping with her fiance at the back of her home and had been unaware that she would not be able to hear the doorbell from the bedroom.

She explained that her phone had become "disconnected from its charger at some point during the night" on that visit, but will now receive a backdated penalty that will end days after the scheduled closing ceremony of the postponed Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.

The Nike athlete has been active on social media in recent weeks, including posts in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign, but has made no mention of her disciplinary case with the unit and did not offer an immediate response to the ban.

Stevens, who finished seventh in the final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and fifth in the World Championships in London the following year, can appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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