British sprinter CJ Ujah has been provisionally suspended for an alleged doping violation just one week after playing a role in Team GB’s 4x100m relay silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
In an astonishing development, the Athletics Integrity Unit revealed on Thursday evening that Ujah returned an adverse analytical finding from testing conducted during the Games.
The AIU said they were looking into the presence in the 27-year-old’s sample of the anabolic aid Ostarine and S-23, which aids muscle building.
If the findings lead to a conviction, the relay quartet and Team GB will be faced with the immensely embarrassing scenario of being stripped of the silver medal they won last Friday.
Ujah had led the quartet of himself, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake out of the blocks in one of the most exhilarating races of the Games.
The British team led until the final metres when Mitchell-Blake was passed by Italy’s the Filippo Tortu, costing them a gold medal by only 0.01sec. If they lose the medal, China would be upgraded to bronze.
Sportsmail understands that figures at UK Athletics were left stunned by the news, which they heard barely an hour prior to the official announcement.
They will not comment on an active investigation, while there has not yet been a response from Ujah’s representatives.
A British Olympic Association spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of the Athletics Integrity Unit statement, and the BOA will respect due process in this matter.’
The UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad) website describes Ostarine as having ‘a similar effect to testosterone’, adding: ‘Dietary supplements containing Ostarine typically claim to promote muscle building. Unscrupulous manufacturers may market such products as “legal steroids” or “steroid alternatives”.’
Ujah had been at risk of falling off the 100m map after some underwhelming seasons in the wake of a stunning 2017, in which he won both the Diamond League title and a 4x100m world championship gold medal.
Injuries cost him his place at the 2019 worlds, but ahead of the Olympics he had declared himself ‘the most confident I’ve ever felt in my track career’. Arriving in Japan on the back of a number of promising performances, he attributed his revival to adopting Zen Buddhism and morning meditation sessions.
However, after making it through his 100m heat in 10.08sec, he flopped in his semi-final, crashing out in fifth place in 10.11sec.
Speaking after the relay silver medal, Ujah said: ‘Every major championships since the last Olympic Games we have won a medal and we’re probably the most decorated team when it comes to 4x100m over the last cycle. Just watch out for us. It’s a growing team and a young squad and I am proud of these guys.’
Born in Enfield, north London, Ujah has been one of Team GB’s top track athletes in recent years, with the 27-year-old winning the 4x100m world title in 2017 and then the European title in 2016 and 2018.
He became the fifth and youngest Brit to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m race, with the best time of 9.96 (with a +1.4 tailwind) set in Hengelo, Netherlands in June 2014.
Having grown up in north London, Ujah went on to study mathematics and science at Walthamstow’s Sir George Monoux College before graduating to Middlesex University in the capital, where he is currently studying sports science.
In 2016, Olympic legend Usain Bolt appeared to give the Brit the cold shoulder before they competed in the the World Championships, which Ujah brushed off in an exclusive interview with Sportsmail.
‘We didn’t chat,’ Ujah told Sportsmail in 2017. ‘I don’t know if it was because of headlines that he maybe saw before. Possibly. Some said something like, “CJ Ujah is going to overthrow Bolt”, but I didn’t say that.
‘I said he was not the same Bolt that he was years ago, and that the 100 metres was more open.
‘But it got misconstrued and I don’t know if he saw it and thought, “This little kid is arrogant”. In previous years we were talking so I actually think he did see it.
‘When I next see him I will talk to him about that, put it right.’