Michelle Jenneke's brilliant display amid ugly drama at world athletics championships

The Aussie runner was drawn alongside controversial world champion Tobi Amusan in Budapest.

Michelle Jenneke and Tobi Amusan at the world athletics championships.
Michelle Jenneke was third in her heat behind Tobi Amusan. Image: Getty

Michelle Jenneke has distanced herself from controversy surrounding Tobi Amusan at the world athletics championships, despite being unable to distance herself from her on the track. The Aussie runner advanced to the 100m hurdles semi-finals in Budapest on Tuesday (local time) along with compatriot Celeste Mucci.

Jenneke was drawn in the same heat as controversial reigning world champ Amusan, and ran in the lane right alongside her. The 30-year-old Jenneke was third across the finish line in 12.71, while Amusan won in 12.48 - only five days after she had a provisional anti-doping ban lifted.

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There is a huge cloud around Amusan's participation in Budepest, with the Nigerian world record holder still facing the possibility of an appeal to have that suspension reinstated. Speaking after the race, Jenneke didn't want to be drawn into the furore.

"I honestly don't know that much about the situation," she said. "I respect that the Athletics Integrity Unit is doing what they need to do. She's here, she's racing and that's all you can really think about."

Speaking to reporters after the race, Amusan said: “I'm here competing and that's all that matters. Next."

When asked if she was planning on coming to the world championships even after she learned last month that she had been accused of an anti-doping violation for missing three tests over 12 months, she shot back: “Was I planning to come and defend my title? Next question.”

She added: "I'm just thankful I'm here in Budapest and able to race, using my talent. It is not been the best but I'm here. I tried to stay as relaxed as possible (through all the uncertainty) and do what my coach tells me. So here I am."

Michelle Jenneke, pictured here at the world athletics championships.
Michelle Jenneke in action at the world athletics championships. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for World Athletics) (Getty Images for World Athletics)

Cloud surrounds Tobi Amusan at world championships

At the world championships last year, Amusan shocked fans with her world-record time of 12.12 in the semi-final. She went on to win the gold in a time of 12.06, but it didn't go into the record books because the tailwind was too strong.

But now she is embroiled in a “whereabouts” controversy. If an athlete isn't where they tell testers they will be, it can count as a missed test. Three missed tests in the span of a year can result in a sanction.

Amusan claimed in July that she was “tested within days of my third ‘missed’ test.'” Last Thursday after winning an appeal, she posted on social media that she would not be sanctioned and “I am thrilled to put this behind me.”

Michelle Jenneke and Tobi Amusan, pictured here at the world athletics championships.
Michelle Jenneke alongsode Tobi Amusan at the world athletics championships. (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images) (Sportsfile via Getty Images)

But the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit will have a chance to review the decision, which is expected to be released on Wednesday. They will decide if they want to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Athletics Integrity Unit chair David Howman said his agency would first wait to see if WADA appeals the case to CAS. If not, AIU would put the case in front of an independent panel to determine if it should make the appeal. “We have some concern that it might set a precedent that would make it difficult for future cases,” Howman said.

Jessica Hull seventh as Peter Bol misses 800m semi-finals

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Jessica Hull finished seventh in a red-hot women's 1500m final but it taking plenty of confidence into the Paris Olympics next year. Former Commonwealth champion Brandon Starc was equal-eighth in the men's high jump final. His best clearance was 2.25m - a full 11cm below his personal best.

And Peter Bol failed to advance past the heats of the men's 800m, only three weeks after learning that Sport Integrity Australia had ended its anti-doping investigation against him. Close friend and training partner Joseph Deng fared much better, easing into the semis after coming home third in his heat in 1:45.48.

with agencies

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