PARIS (AFP/REUTERS) - American long jumper Jarrion Lawson, a silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships, has been handed a four-year ban for doping, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Saturday (June 1).
The 25-year-old tested positive for the anabolic steroid epitrenbolone following an out-of-competition doping control exercise in June last year. He was provisionally suspended in August.
Lawson finished second to South African world champion Luvo Manyonga in London two years ago, and also came fourth at the 2016 Olympics. He had said his positive sample was the result of eating contaminated beef.
He and his team will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), he said.
"I am innocent and I maintain confidence that eventually things will be righted," the athlete said in a statement provided by his agent Paul Doyle.
The AIU, in charge of drug testing in athletics, announced Lawson's ban on Twitter. It had provisionally suspended him in August 2018 while the case was being adjudicated.
Lawson, 25, claims the likely source of the epitrenbolone was contaminated beef he consumed at a Fayetteville, Arkansas restaurant in June last year.
"Having now researched Trenbolone, we have discovered that it is a USDA (US Department of Agriculture)-approved steroid, legally used in the United States in the production of beef," he had said in a 2018 statement.
The AIU panel, in making its decision, said Lawson had failed to prove how the substance entered his body.
But Doyle, Lawson's agent, called World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) regulations flawed.
"It is absurd that the Wada code places such an impossible burden on athletes to prove the source. How can you go back and test meat that was eaten months ago?" he said in a statement.