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Britain to lose Olympic silver medal over Nigerian – born British athlete, Ujah’s doping

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Britain’s silver medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the men’s 4×100 metres relay could be stripped after its sprinter CJ Ujah was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) as two banned substances were present in his system after the Games.

Chijindu “CJ” Ujah is of Nigerian parentage. An Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) showed up for the 27-year-old, testing positive for investigational selective androgen receptor modulators ostarine and S-23, which are regularly used as a male hormone contraceptive and as treatment for muscle wasting and osteoporosis respectively.

The sprinter became a relay world champion in the same event at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

Ujah’s sample could cost his three team mates – Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – their silver medals won in the men’s 4x100m relay.

Mitchell-Blake was pipped on the line by Italian Filippo Tortu for the gold medal on the anchor leg.

If Britain are disqualified, the Canadian quartet Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney and Andre De Grasse would move into the silver medal position, while China’s Tang Xingqiang, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Wu Zhiqiang would move into bronze.

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Ujah was one of three track and field athletes to test positive for banned substances at the Games, following testing from the International Testing Agency (ITA) during Tokyo 2020.

A fourth athlete, Bahraini 1500 metres runner Sadik Mikhou, has been provisionally banned for a prohibited method – a blood transfusion.

The others who have been given provisional suspensions are Georgian shot putter Benik Abramyan and Kenyan sprinter Mark Otieno Odhiambo.

The AIU and the ITA worked together during the Olympics and provided intelligence to specifically target test two of the four athletes, who they have not named.

Proceedings against these athletes are now underway to determine if they have committed anti-doping violations.

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If they are found to be in breach of anti-doping rules, their results at Tokyo 2020 could be wiped.

Moroccan-born Mikhou, who represents Bahrain following an allegiance change in 2017, was found to have had a blood transfusion when tested.

Blood transfusions in athletes are associated with blood doping, a practice that boosts the number of red blood cells to improve an athlete’s aerobic capabilities.

He failed to make it out of the heats of the men’s 1500m, finishing eighth in the second race in a time of 3min 42.87sec.

A British Olympic Association spokesperson told insidethegames: “We are aware of the Athletics Integrity Unit statement, and the BOA will respect due process in this matter.”

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A UK Athletics spokesperson told insidethegames they would not be making any comment on live cases.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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