British sprinter CJ Ujah has been banned for 22 months for a doping violation at last year’s Tokyo Olympics but cleared of intentionally taking banned substances, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Monday.
Ujah had been provisionally suspended after Ostarine and S-23 — substances prohibited by world anti-doping organisation WADA — were detected in his A and B samples following the men’s 4x100m relay final in which Britain finished second behind Italy.
The AIU, which oversees integrity issues in international athletics including doping, said Ujah’s ban was effective from Aug. 6 and would be in force until June 5, 2023.
“The AIU and Wada were satisfied that the sprinter’s anti-doping rule violation was not intentional as a result of his ingestion of a contaminated supplement and the applicable two-year period of ineligibility was reduced by two months on account of how promptly he admitted the violation,” a statement from the AIU said.
Ujah and his Great Britain teammates Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake were stripped of their silver medal in February after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling. Canada were upgraded to silver and China to bronze.
“Obviously, I made a mistake,” Ujah said in an interview with the Guardian after the announcement. “But people make mistakes. I am not a cheat.”
The 28-year-old said a £10 supplement caused him to test positive for the prohibited substances.
“I think complacency set in,” Ujah said. “During the pandemic I relied a lot on Amazon, rather than using the people and resources around me.
“It was just convenient, with next-day delivery. And I didn’t think anything was wrong with it.”
The sprinter had said he had “not knowingly or intentionally doped” but Kilty said in February British Athletics and UK Anti-Doping had “hammered home” their rules, asking athletes not to use uncertified supplements.
“You know what? I wish I had been tested right before the Olympics, so that I never went,” Ujah added.
“That way, I would never have put these other three guys, my team mates, through what they went through as well as myself.”
UKAD said the AIU announcement marked another sad chapter in the case and for sport in Britain.
“Every national governing body, athlete, coach and member of support staff should take this case as a warning that doping presents a threat to British sport at the highest levels,” UKAD Chief Executive Jane Rumble said.
“This case underlines the need for all sports to redouble their commitment to their anti-doping responsibilities.”