The British men’s sprint relay quartet have been stripped of the Olympic silver medal they won in Tokyo last summer as a result of a positive drugs test by CJ Ujah.
Ujah tested positive for ostarine and S-23, which can be used as an alternative to anabolic steroids, after the event on August 6 and now the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have ruled that he, Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake have been disqualified.
Ujah responded to the news by issuing a public apology to his team-mates and their families, but insisted that he did not knowingly take the banned substances.
“That is something I will regret for the rest of my life,” he said.
In his hearing Ujah blamed contaminated supplements. The CAS, however, dismissed his defence.
The 27-year-old Londoner now must wait to discover what sanctions he will receive from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU); he faces up to a four-year ban.
It is only the third time in Olympic history that a British athlete has been stripped of a medal after the skier Alain Baxter and the judoka Kerrith Brown lost their bronze medals in 2002 and 1988 respectively.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) was scathing in its response, apologising to the other teams in the relay while also pointing the finger of blame firmly at Ujah.
“We are incredibly disappointed that we find ourselves in this position, following confirmation of Chijindu Ujah’s positive sample,” a statement from the BOA read.
“All athletes, wherever they are from, deserve to go to the start line knowing they are in a clean competition. It is with deep sorrow that colleagues and opponents of Ujah were not able to be reassured of this fact in Tokyo.”
The BOA made the point that their athletes receive the proper education about doping and the potential risks of supplements.
“There is and can be no excuse for doping,” the statement added.
The CAS dismissed his defence that he had taken the substances accidentally, with Ujah accepting their decision without challenge.
“I would like to make it clear that I unknowingly consumed a contaminated supplement and this was the reason why an anti-doping rule violation occurred,” Ujah said.
“I would like to apologise to my team-mates, their families and support teams for the impact which this has had on them. I’m sorry that this situation has cost my team-mates the medals they worked so hard and so long for.”
The BOA statement continued: “Having spent the last few years retrospectively awarding numerous British athletes with medals they should have won on the day at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Sochi 2014, we understand first-hand the hurt and loss doping can cause.
“On behalf of everyone in British sport we unreservedly apologise to the athletes whose moment was lost in Tokyo due to the actions of Ujah.
“We are also disappointed for the three colleagues of Ujah who, through no fault of their own, will now lose their silver medals. We note Ujah’s statement, and we welcome his contrition.
“That said, this should act as a salutary message for anyone — British or otherwise — who is doping or considering doping as a way of boosting their athletic performance. You will get caught. You are not welcome on our team and nor are you representative of our values, or of our nation.”
It amounted to a most uncomfortable day for British athletics, given that there was also news of a massive ten-year doping ban for a member of an elite sprinting group that boasts two British athletes in its ranks.
Adam Gemili and Laviai Nielsen have been removed from UK Athletics’ World Class Programme after opting to stay with Rana Reider’s Tumbleweed Track Club in Jacksonville, Florida, despite the American coach being the subject of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by the US Center for SafeSport.