Mo Katir Accepts Whereabouts Suspension, Will Miss Olympics After Accepting 2-Year Suspension

Katir was .14 from the 5,000m gold medal at the 2023 World Championships

Mo Katir, the 25-year-old Spanish distance star, has accepted a two-year ban for whereabouts failures, the Athletics Integrity Unit announced Friday. Katir will miss the 2024 Olympics and 2025 World Championships but will get to keep his medals from the 2022 and 2023 World Championships.

When Katir’s provisional suspension was announced last week, he said he planned on appealing the decision. Ultimately, however, Katir did not appeal and accepted the two-year ban, which will expire on February 7, 2026. The full AIU decision can be read here.

Article continues below player.

An athlete must commit three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period to trigger a suspension. Katir’s failures all came in 2023: a filing failure on February 28 and missed tests/filing failures on April 3 and October 10.

For the filing failure, a doping control officer (DCO) showed up at an address in Murcia, Spain, on February 28 that Katir had listed as his overnight location. Though the attempted test was outside of Katir’s one-hour testing window, it is common for DCOs to attempt to test athletes outside of their window. Katir’s father came to the door and explained his son was in Lisbon visiting his fiancée.

Katir claimed that his fiancée had been feeling unwell and he booked a flight to visit her on February 28 and had forgotten to update his whereabouts. However, records later showed that Katir had booked the flight two days earlier.

In the second incident, a DCO showed up at Katir’s house during his one-hour window on April 3 when he was actually at training camp in Font Romeu. Katir claimed he had tried to change his whereabouts on March 28 but that he experienced problems with the ADAMS system (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) that athletes use to update their whereabouts. Katir sent an email to the ADAMS support team explaining the situation and provided an address where he could be found in Font Romeu from March 27 – April 30. However, ADAMS sent Katir an auto response saying that was not sufficient and that he must send an update to the AIU, which Katir never did. Katir also was able to successfully log into the app on the very next day, March 29, during which he updated his whereabouts information but only did so through March 31.

Katir set a European record of 12:45.01 in the 5,000 last year in Monaco (Kevin Morris photo)

For the third whereabouts failure on October 10, a DCO showed up to Katir’s house for his one-hour window between 7:20 – 8:20 p.m. Katir’s father came to the door and told the DCO that his son was training 30 minutes away and was unreachable by phone. Katir claimed he thought his window was from 7-8 a.m., stating that he would not have set it for the evening because he usually trains at that time.

In reality, on September 29, Katir had set his one-hour window as 7:20 – 8:20 p.m. for the entire period from October 1 – December 31. On the night of October 10, after the unsuccessful testing attempt had concluded, Katir went into the app and changed his window for that day to 7-8 a.m.

Katir burst onto the scene as a 23-year-old in 2021, winning two Diamond Leagues and running Spanish records of 3:28.76 for 1500, 7:27.64 for 3000, and 12:50.79 for 5000. The year before, he had modest personal bests of just 3:36.59, 7:44.13, and 13:50.19 and was just 5th at the Spanish indoor championships in the 3,000 and 7th at the Spanish outdoor championships in the 1500. In 2023, he subsequently lowered his 3000 pb to 7:24.68 (#2 all-time indoors) and his 5000 pb to 12:45.01 (a European record and #11 on the all-time list).

Quick Take: As far as whereabouts excuses go, these were fairly flimsy and it’s not surprising Katir accepted his ban

The first failure is the most understandable. Katir may not have booked the flight on February 28 as he claimed, but he still booked the flight only two days before taking it. It is plausible he had decided to visit his fiancée, forgot to update his whereabouts to account for the trip, and unsuccessfully tried to cover his tracks by claiming he had actually bought the ticket the day of the flight.

The next two are harder to justify. If Katir was experiencing problems with the ADAMS app ahead of the April 3 missed test, he did not follow the proper procedures to deal with it and failed to inform the AIU. Furthermore, he had no issues updating his whereabouts on March 29 or on April 3 right after his missed test.

The October 10 missed test is inexcusable. Anyone sitting on two missed tests should be well aware of how important it is to be on top of their whereabouts. Katir’s explanation was not about some last-minute travel emergency or technological failure — it is simply that he claims he had set a different one-hour window for that day. The kindest explanation for Katir is that he was careless in the extreme. The alternative is that he was doping, knew he was going to test positive, and was okay missing the test and taking a two-year ban as opposed to testing positive and being banned for four years. Either way, a two-year ban is justified in this case.

Quick Take: How are Mario Garcia Romo and Luis Grijalva feeling right now?

Katir is banned until February 2026, but he will get to keep all of his accomplishments through October 9, 2023 — which includes the 1500m bronze he won at the 2022 Worlds and the 5000m silver he won at the 2023 Worlds in between his second and third whereabouts failures. The two fourth-place finishers in those races are young athletes based in the US after coming up through the NCAA system: Mario Garcia Romo of Spain and the On Athletics Club and Luis Grijalva of Guatemala. Both are still only 24 years old and a global medal at this stage of their careers would have brought immense financial rewards.

Garcia Romo has not commented publicly on Katir’s situation, but Grijalva — who was devastated to miss a medal in Budapest by .22 in the 5000m — made a post on his Instagram last week after Katir’s provisional suspension was announced. He concluded with the following statement:

“I truly believe in the process [of the] Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). This is not a sad week for track and field instead it’s a happy week knowing that all athletes can be on a starting line held to the same standards and accountability.”

Talk about Katir’s suspension on our messageboard:

Previous: Two-Time World Medalist Mohamed Katir of Spain Provisionally Suspended for Whereabouts Failures

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards