A wretched 24 hours for UK Athletics continued on Tuesday when CJ Ujah’s B sample confirmed his positive drug test at the Tokyo Olympics. It now seems increasingly likely the Team GB men’s 4x100m team will be stripped of their silver medal.
Separately UK Sport has admitted to having “concerns” about the crisis in British athletics, which led to several Team GB stars asking Sebastian Coe to save the sport in this country when they met him last week in Zurich.
That news, which was revealed on Monday night, has sent shockwaves through the sport and UK Sport has urged those athletes to come forward to air their grievances.
“The suggestion that athletes may be considering leaving the world‑class programme is a concern and something we will discuss with the UK Athletics leadership team,” a UK Sport statement said.
“Furthermore, we are committed to an athlete-first approach within Olympic and Paralympic sport and would urge any athlete who has a grievance to speak up. There are various channels dedicated to supporting athletes on the World Class Programme, including independent advice through the British Athletes Commission.”
That statement did not impress one participant in the meeting, who told the Guardian it was “a load of rubbish”. However UK Sport says it will review UKA’s performance in Tokyo, where it won six medals, in the coming weeks.
It looks increasingly likely that the UKA medal haul will be reduced to five in the coming months after the International Testing Agency confirmed there were two banned substances in Ujah’s B sample. The ITA confirmed they were the selective androgen receptor modulators ostarine and S-23, which are used to treat muscle wasting and bone health respectively. The case has now been referred to the court of arbitration for sport anti-doping division.
Unless Ujah is exonerated the British men’s quartet – which also included Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – will lose their silver medal.
“The Cas ADD will consider the matter of the finding of an anti-doping rule violation and the disqualification of the men’s 4x100 relay results of the Great Britain team,” the ITA said.
Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules if an athlete of a relay team is found to have committed an anti‑doping rule violation, that team are automatically disqualified from the event in question, with all resulting consequences for the relay team, including the forfeiture of all titles, awards, medals, points and prize and appearance money.
“Once the matter is settled under the IOC ADR, the case will be referred to the Athletics Integrity Unit to follow up on sanctions beyond the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the ITA said.
Ujah has maintained his innocence and last month released a statement saying he was “shocked and devastated” by the outcome of the test. “To be absolutely clear, I am not a cheat and I have never and would never knowingly take a banned substance. I love my sport and I know my responsibilities both as an athlete and as a teammate.”