2012 Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos will not compete in Eugene due to doping allegations

Amos was notified his June 4th blood sample revealed a banned substance, after already arriving in Eugene to prepare for the World Championships

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 800m - Round 1 - OLS - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 31, 2021. Nijel Amos of Botswana in action during Heat 4 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 800m - Round 1 - OLS - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 31, 2021. Nijel Amos of Botswana in action during Heat 4 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ahead of the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Botswana’s Nijel Amos has been provisionally suspended for a banned substance. Amos arrived in Oregon earlier this week in preparation for his 800m preliminary race on July 20 and was notified he would no longer be able to compete.

The blood sample tested was from June 4 and showed GW1516 in the runner’s system. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the substance “modifies how the body metabolizes fat.” More importantly, however, it poses a real threat to the health and well-being of an athlete as competitive as Amos.

GW1516 falls into the metabolic modulator category on the 2022 WADA Prohibited List. The drug was first developed to treat obesity and diabetes, along with other health disorders caused by thyroid and metabolism problems. The drug later revealed cancer causing properties in a clinical trial so WADA has shared the risks known to be associated with the use of the drug.

Athletics - Diamond League - Monaco - Stade Louis II, Monaco - July 9, 2021 Botswana's Nijel Amos celebrates winning the men's 800m REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Athletics - Diamond League - Monaco - Stade Louis II, Monaco - July 9, 2021 Botswana's Nijel Amos celebrates winning the men's 800m REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Amos won the silver medal in the 800m in London 2012 as an 18-year-old, marking the first Olympic medal ever won for Botswana. He has been a permanent fixture in the race since then, but has not had as much success as he did in 2012. Last summer in Tokyo, Amos barely made it into the final after filing an appeal following a collision with American Isaiah Jewett in the semifinals. He finished in eighth place in the final, missing the podium entirely.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 800m - Semifinal- OLS - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Ferguson Rotich of Kenya and Jeffrey Riseley of Australia in action as Isaiah Jewett of the United States and Nijel Amos of Botswana fall down during the race REUTERS/Phil Noble
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 800m - Semifinal- OLS - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Ferguson Rotich of Kenya and Jeffrey Riseley of Australia in action as Isaiah Jewett of the United States and Nijel Amos of Botswana fall down during the race REUTERS/Phil Noble

Amos is not the first big contender to be eliminated from competition before it even begins. The current women’s world record holder in the long jump, Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas, will not be competing due to wearing illegal shoes for her world qualifying jump and American Sam Hendricks will not be defending his title in pole vault due to a meniscus tear.

There are a slew of other athletes who will be missing from Eugene from all over the world for various reasons. With so many absent, the results have the potential to be a surprise to spectators and fans just as much as they have the potential to surprise the competitors. Having some of the top athletes out of competition will certainly open the door for newcomers to make their mark as preparation for Paris 2024 begins to ramp up.