Tokyo 2020 British sprint relay team could lose silver medals after one athlete fails doping test

Chijindu Ujah is provisionally suspended after testing positive for two prohibited substances during the Games.

Athletics - British Athletics Championships - Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester, Britain - June 26, 2021 Britain’s Chijindu Ujah after winning the men's 100m final Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington
Athletics - British Athletics Championships - Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester, Britain - June 26, 2021 Britain’s Chijindu Ujah after winning the men's 100m final Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

Great Britain’s silver medal in the men’s 4x100m relay at Tokyo 2020 is at risk after Chijindu Ujah failed a doping test during the Olympics.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a statement on Thursday that Ujah had returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) which included the prohibited substances of Ostarine and S-23. Both are Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), a class of therapeutic compounds that have similar properties to anabolic steroids.

All SARMs are banned by WADA. The International Testing Agency (ITA) conducted the testing during the Olympics on behalf of the IOC.

Ujah is provisionally suspended by the ITA. Should the positive test be confirmed, he and his relay teammates Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake would likely be stripped of their medals, pending any appeals.

The AIU said it has also begun disciplinary proceedings against three other athletes suspended by the ITA during the Games for doping offenses: 1500m runner Sadik Mikhou of Bahrain, shot putter Benik Abramyan of Georgia, and 100m sprinter Mark Otieno Odhiambo of Kenya.

It was revealed that Odhiambo had a second AAF in a sample taken by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya on June 24.

The AIU said it had worked closely with the ITA during Tokyo 2020 and “provided the intelligence to carry out specific target testing on two of the four athletes”. It did not name the athletes.

The AIU said it “awaits the conclusion of the ITA proceedings against the above athletes, which will determine whether any anti-doping rule violations have been committed and what consequences (if any) should be imposed in relation to the Olympic Games.

Any additional penalties to be imposed on the athletes under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules would be determined by the AIU after the conclusion of the ITA proceedings.