In Focus

The scandal that could tarnish Team GB

CJ Ujah protested his innocence after testing positive for two banned substances

Two weeks ago, having helped Team GB’s men’s 4x100m relay team win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, CJ Ujah declared himself “super proud”, said David Walsh in The Sunday Times. He won’t be feeling that way now. Last week, it emerged that the urine sample he had given after the race had tested positive for two banned substances, ostarine and S-23. Both belong to a class of drugs called selective androgen receptor modulators (Sarms), which promote muscle growth but “without the androgenic (increase in male characteristics) side effects caused by anabolic steroids”. 

Ujah has been provisionally suspended while his reserve sample is analysed, said Sean Ingle in The Guardian. But if the positive test is confirmed, not only will the 27-year-old be banned, his three relay teammates will almost certainly join him in being stripped of their medals. Ujah is protesting his innocence (“I am not a cheat”) and will probably claim that the banned substances were unlisted ingredients in legal supplements he was taking, said Walsh. And that defence isn’t as implausible as it sounds: in the past, some supposedly legal supplements have indeed been shown to contain substances such as ostarine. 

Still, if Ujah’s offence really was unwitting, he’d still be guilty of “unprofessional and unthinking” behaviour. And if he knew what he was up to, this could prove the “biggest doping scandal in British Olympic history”.

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