MOSCOW: Russian hurdler Sergey Shubenkov has been cleared in what the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday was a "genuinely exceptional" doping case involving a diuretic prescribed to a family member.
The AIU, which oversees integrity issues in global athletics, said that a low concentration of acetazolamide had been found in Shubenkov's out-of-competition sample collected in December 2020.
The substance is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited diuretics and masking agents and is banned both in and out-of-competition.
Shubenkov, the 2015 world champion and silver medallist at the 2019 worlds in the 110 metres hurdles, told the unit that the finding was linked to the residue of a medication taken by a family member.
"After a thorough investigation of the athlete's explanation during results management process, the AIU accepted that the positive finding resulted from his unintentional ingestion of residue from medication being used to treat a family member," the unit said in a statement.
The AIU added that its charge against Shubenkov had been referred to its disciplinary tribunal, which found that Shubenkov's case was "genuinely exceptional".
Welcoming the decision, Shubenkov posted on Instagram on Tuesday that his three-month-old son had been prescribed a medication containing the substance, and that its preparation had left microscopic traces of it in his kitchen.
"Luckily, it ended up nicely," he wrote, thanking the AIU.
The decision to clear him could pave the way for the 30-year-old to be cleared to compete internationally as a neutral athlete, including for the Tokyo Olympics that kick off next month.
No more than 10 Russians will be allowed to compete in athletics as neutrals at the Games.
Russia's athletics federation was suspended in 2015 in the wake of a report commissioned by WADA that found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes in the country.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams)