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Wada considers appeal against Knighton decision

American sprinter Erriyon Knighton
Erriyon Knighton was provisionally suspended in April [Getty Images]

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) after American sprinter Erriyon Knighton avoided a ban for taking a banned substance.

Knighton, 20, tested positive for trenbolone - a banned substance used for muscle growth - in March.

An independent arbitrator ruled on 19 June that Knighton more than likely digested the substance by consuming contaminated meat.

The decision cleared the 200m sprinter to compete in the United States' Olympic trials, which start in Friday in Oregon.

But Wada says it will await a breakdown of the decision before deciding whether to launch an appeal.

"Once Wada has the full reasoned decision, it will study that, along with the case file, with its usual scepticism and diligence," a Wada spokesperson BBC Sport.

They added it would be "extremely rare" to test positive for trenbolone by consuming contaminated meat.

Trenbolone is a known livestock growth promoter that is used legally in beef cattle produced in, and exported to, the United States.

Usada (United States Anti-Doping Agency) chief executive, Travis Tygart said "justice" had been served following Knighton's clearance.

On the same day that Knighton was cleared, China selected 11 athletes embroiled in a doping scandal for their swimming team for Paris.

Tygart had demanded sanctions on Chinese athletes ahead of the Games after 23 athletes that competed at the 2021 Tokyo Games were cleared for unintentionally ingesting heart medication trimetazidine (TMZ).

The issue sparked strong criticism of Wada from Tygart, who had alleged there had been a "cover up", with the anti-doping body threatening legal action in reply.

"If this had been an athlete in China, we dare to think that Mr Tygart would be singing a different tune, and very loudly," said the Wada spokesperson on Thursday.

Both Knighton and the 23 Chinese athletes have been cleared after positive results because of cases of contamination but Tygart argues the cases are not comparable.

"Unlike the China TMZ 23, in this case, as the rules required, we provisionally suspend the athlete, presented the issues before an independent arbitrator, and publicly announced the outcome," Tygart told Reuters.

"It is sad to see but Wada has truly lost it and is crumbling before the world’s eyes."