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CJ Ujah will be selected for GB once doping ban is over

CJ Ujah has been told he can return to the Great Britain fold once he has served his drugs ban, which ends on June 5, 2023.

The 28-year-old was slapped a with a backdated 22-month ban after failing a drug test which resulted in Team GB being stripped of their silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 4x100metre relay.

Ujah had tested positive for banned substances ostarine and S-23 back in August last year, denying the Team GB quartet – which also included Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – silver. Despite the suspension, he was cleared of intentionally taking a prohibited substance by the Athletics Integrity Unit and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The 28-year-old admitted that he had “unknowingly consumed a contaminated substance” and said that he would “regret for the rest of his life” the situation.

Ujah will be available for next year’s World Championships in Hungary and after his ban was confirmed, new UK Athletics technical director Stephen Maguire insisted he will be in the frame for the British team if he is quick enough.

“If he’s available to compete we will select him. I haven’t spoken to CJ in a couple of years. He made a mistake and that’s clear,” he said. “I need to see what the environment is like. CJ, first of all, has to run fast anyway.

“It’s looking at that environment and where it all fits. Hopefully things go easy for CJ in coming back and it would be great to have that choice in selecting CJ. The 100m and 4x100m is going to be tough for anyone.

“I’ll definitely be chatting to CJ. I’ve (also) had a couple of conversations with the BOA (British Olympic Association). It’s getting to know them now the CJ news has broken. He’s eligible next year. It’s a conversation I’ll need to have.”

Olympic sprinter shot dead

Bahamas Olympic sprinter Shavez Hart has died after he was shot when trying to break up an argument outside a nightclub at 2am.

Hart was killed as he tried to stop a group of men from fighting in the carpark of a nightclub in Mount Hope on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The tragic incident happened just four days before his 30th birthday on Tuesday. One of the men involved reportedly left the parking lot and took a gun out of his car before shooting Hart in the chest. According to local media, a suspect was later arrested and taken into police custody.

Hart competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and leaves behind a wife and son. The sprinter was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Speaking to the Nassau Guardian , his mother Shammaine Hart expressed her distress and said: “He was such a good son – very quiet and always helpful. He did a lot of work in the community and was always trying to give back.

“I will certainly miss him.”

“As a country we are blessed to have a great athlete to carry our flag around the world. Ann and I will keep the Shavez family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Hart was an eight-time Bahamian champion in 100m and 200m sprints. He qualified for the Rio Games after clocking a time of 10.1 seconds in the 100m, setting a personal best which ensured he became the third-fastest Bahamian in history.

Hart had attended and represented Texas A&M University where he competed in track events. He competed in the 2013 CAC Championships and won gold medal in the 4x100m relay in Morelia, Mexico.

Tributes continued, with Bahamian sports minister Mario Bowleg added: “It is with great sadness that I express my heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Olympian Shavez Hart!”

Jake Wightman has become the Commonwealth Games poster-boy aiming for golden hat-trick

Nearly-man Jake Wightman has assumed poster-boy status for these Commonwealth Games and he cannot believe it.

Born 50 miles up the road in Nottingham, the identical twin was an athletics page boy – but never the groom – until a month ago.

In the space of 24 incredible days, the Edinburgh-based 1,500 metres star took a huge leap from collecting minor medals in championships. He became British champion for the first time then flew to the United States and stunned the sport by landing the world title – as dad and coach Geoff provided the stadium commentary.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Wightman, Britain’s first 1,500m world champion since Steve Cram in 1983. “And pretty cool, because my Commonwealth and European bronze medals from 2018 were getting a bit extinct.

“I’m glad I’ve been able to refresh my CV and my dad can actually announce me as something else.”

So impressed was middle-distance legend Sebastian Coe that he believes there is “no reason” Wightman can’t complete a golden hat-trick – here in Birmingham and then at next month’s European Championships.

“Jake will know he has that opportunity,” said Coe of an athlete who has leapfrogged all the 1980s greats to No.3 in the all-time British rankings. “You have to say, putting the kiss of death on it, he has done the hardest one first.

“What Jake achieved in Eugene is a huge deal for British athletics. Absolutely massive. It’s great for him but I think the impact it will have psychologically on a lot of other really good middle-distance runners that we also have will be massive.

“Somebody needed to win something and Jake’s done that. I think that will give permission for the current generation to feel more emboldened in the championship arena.

“The next generation coming through have a role model now.”

Wightman, 28, intends to embrace the responsibility, starting here where he wears the Scottish vest, adding: “I hope I can be a lightning rod for others. “British and Scottish athletics is in such a good place at the moment.

“There’s a lot of people who should be pretty proud at what they did to set the ball rolling. And it’s not finished rolling yet.

“There’s more athletes coming through that will be able to hopefully be as good as this in the coming years.”

Scottish athletics is particularly strong coming into these Games with Laura Muir having delivered one of the most eye-catching performances in Eugene to take women’s 1,500m bronze.

Josh Kerr, Olympic 1,500m bronze medallist, was fifth behind Wightman while Eilish McColgan has broken three British records this year

Commonwealth Games chief hits out at absent stars and insists they “will regret”

Birmingham 2022 chief has hit out at stars who opted to skip the Commonwealth Games and insisted they will regret failing to compete at the event.

Several leading names opted to miss the Games, including sprint world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. Many stars cited the fact that the event in Birmingham was held so close to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon as the reason they skipped, with Fraser-Pryce actually in attendance.

Other world champions from the recent meeting in the United States that have elected to be absent from the Commonwealth Games include women’s 400m winner Shanae Miller-Uibo and Faith Kipyegon. The Kenyan edged out Brit Laura Muir – who is competing for Scotland – to win 1500m gold.

Regardless, Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian Reid remained defiant in the face of absent stars and declared they will regret their choice. He said: “We can’t make people come here but, if Shelly-Ann was here earlier and saw the atmosphere and the full stadium, she probably regrets it.

“To have 30,000 people in Alexander Stadium for every session of athletics, the atmosphere it’s created, I can’t think of anywhere better for these athletes to be. There are some others who aren’t here but my personal opinion is they will probably regret it.”

Reid’s sentiment was shared by three-time Commonwealth Games champion Daley Thompson. The Englishman won decathlon gold at the Olympics in 1980 and 1984, but won his Commonwealth titles between 1978 and 1986.

“If there are people that want to earn a living and go and race in Zurich or wherever that might be that’s fair enough,” Thompson said. “But from my point of view it was only ever about winning championships and being the best.

“I think the people who go for the money are missing out because it’s a brilliant place to be. Elaine Herah-Thompson was running today, she’s here. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for most people.”

These comments come after English swimming star Adam Peaty criticised the event, suggesting he was ‘not that bothered’ about the Commonwealth Games as he looked ahead to his 100m breaststroke final on Tuesday night. Peaty backtracked on his comments insisting the emotion had got to the two-time Olympic champion in the moment.

Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes announces she is gay

Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes has announced she is gay, and says she has hidden it for 34 years.

Speaking during Pride month, the two-time gold medallist said she realised she was gay at the age of 17 after kissing a fellow female soldier, and that her family and friends have known since 1997.

The Olympic champion told the Sunday Mirror: “I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement.

“Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.”

The 52-year-old also revealed she struggled with her mental health because of having to hide her sexuality, and that she had to keep several same-sex relationships she had during her time in the Women’s Royal Army Corps secret, for fear of being courts marshalled.

Until 2000, it was illegal for gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve in the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF – and Dame Kelly feared she would still face repercussions for breaking that law during her time in the forces.

She contacted a military LGBTQ+ leader in 2020 to find out if she could be sanctioned for breaking army rules and was told she would not be.

She said: “I felt like I could breathe again, one little call could have saved 28 years of heartache.”

Dame Kelly took part in her final major championship in 2004, with a double gold medal-winning performance at the Athens Olympics.

In 2005 – the year she retired from athletics – she was made a Dame by the Queen.

She has since been made an honorary colonel with the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment.

Dame Kelly set up a charity in 2008, created to support retired athletes to transition out of their sport and to create mentoring programmes to inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into sports.

Social media has been flooded with support for the Olympic champion.

She has also started to make a documentary about her experiences called Being Me, where she talks to LGBTQ+ soldiers about their lives in the military now.

‘I was sexually assaulted and racially abused – all while competing for my country’

Anyika Onuora won Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth sprinting and relay medals during 12 years competing for Great Britain and England. But behind her medal-winning smiles lay a journey filled with horrifying physical and mental turmoil. In her newly published autobiography, My Hidden Race, Anyika tells all..

From a young age, I was taught that life wasn’t fair. For years my parents had dealt with racism. Their sacrifices eventually provided me with the platform and opportunities to run on the greatest athletics tracks in the world.

But I have experienced things as a British athlete that haunts me during the day and the night. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to outrun the demons in my mind.

I have been brutally sexually assaulted, experienced frequent racial abuse and attempted suicide twice. All while competing for my country.

My parents are from Nigeria and from our first day on the street in the suburb of Dingle, Liverpool, I could feel vicious hatred from a local gang of kids: the Onuora family were not welcome at all.

We were used to being the only black faces in a world of white ones but we had never experienced such naked hatred to our faces. We left the house for only two reasons; to go to school or to church.

The racist insults of those years have never left me.

( Photo: Liverpool Echo)

The word “n*****” was spat at me countless times.

The front of the house became a no-go zone, due to the front window being shattered most nights by bricks.

Every Sunday, just as the minister in leafy Mossley Hill was giving his sermon, our house would either be attacked or burgled by the gang. It became a horrifying routine.

Christine Ohuruogu, Emily Diamond, Anyika Onuora and Eilidh Doyle with their Olympic relay bronze medals in Rio ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

I developed terrors and became a confirmed insomniac. Eventually, our car was firebombed and completely burnt out in an arson attack.

Finally, we moved to Wavertree where I gained a reputation for cleaning up the silverware at the annual school sports day.

My friend persuaded me to go along with her to Liverpool Harriers and on the track; I found I was strong, free and, at times, unstoppable. I would go on to win European, World and Olympic medals.

( Photo: Anyika Onuora)

I visited a host of different physios. One day my regular one wasn’t available and a replacement stepped in.

Just as I was fully relaxed and he moved to my hip, he placed his hand directly on my vagina. He removed his hand before continuing the treatment, slowly pushing the boundaries.

For my lower back, he climbed on to the treatment table and mounted me, saying that he needed to get more leverage to release tight muscles.

Onuora (partially hidden) celebrates with team mates Ohuruogu, Doyle and Diamond following women’s 4x400m relay final at Rio Olympics ( Image: PA)

I could feel his manhood through his trousers, and felt completely violated, but helpless.

Only much later a physio friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had been sexually assaulted. When you are young and filled with dreams, you are at your most vulnerable. I didn’t want to rock the boat, even slightly.

Years after, I was competing abroad and found myself in a hotel lift with a sportsman I knew. Later on I would see the sportsman again at the post-race banquet. He was drinking a lot and frequently asking me to dance. Each time I politely said “no”.

Eventually, I told him I was going to catch the bus home. He grabbed my waist quite strongly and slurred that I was going to miss an amazing night. I removed his hands, said goodbye and went to get on the bus.

I was settling down to go to bed. Suddenly, I looked at my watch, it was 3am. I heard someone trying to open my door. The door knob initially rattled softly, then suddenly it was being shaken aggressively.

In a few seconds, it was forced open. I sensed who it was. I wasn’t scared; I was seriously annoyed.

He told me he wouldn’t leave until I admitted I liked him. I refused and in a split second, he grabbed me aggressively. Suddenly I was scared.

The sportsman told me he didn’t know why I was trying to fight it.

He had my arms pinned with his knees and my wrists above my head. He wrenched my underwear off. I went completely numb, crying uncontrollably. My body was convulsing.

I told myself, ‘Just keep fighting with everything, Anyika. Fight him. Fight.’

As he was about to com­­plete the act he released his knee which was pinning down my right leg. I kicked as hard as I could and my knee connected with his genitals. He screamed and rolled off. I yelled at him to get out.

I never told anyone in British Athletics about the assaults or racism I endured. I have spent many nights wondering why not.

The answer is that I never felt there was someone who would understand what I had gone through. The vast majority of the support staff were white and none had experienced racial discrimination.

I tell this story now in the hope that it gives other female athletes who have been degraded and damaged the courage to reach out and speak up.

Richard Kilty will never forgive CJ Ujah after being stripped the Tokyo Olympics medal

Richard Kilty says he will never forgive CJ Ujah for costing him his Olympic medal.

Six months after winning sprint relay silver in Tokyo, Kilty and team mates had it confirmed that they are to be stripped of it due to Ujah’s failed drugs test.

“It’s officially gone and it’s utterly devastating,” said the Teeside star. “As a team mate I feel let down. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive him.”

Ujah is the third Briton, after 1988 Judo player Kerrith Brown and 2002 slalom skier Alain Baxter, to test positive at an Olympics.

But he is the first whose actions have cost innocent team mates the greatest moment of their sporting careers. “

My dream was always to give my son an Olympic medal to take in and show all the other kids at school,” Kilty said. “

But then the news broke and all that just came tumbling down. Rather than a homecoming celebrating our achievement, it was coming home to explain. “`

What went on? Have you still got your medal? Does your team mate take drugs? “

I didn’t even want to leave the house. It was just exhausting trying to explain myself. We didn’t hear anything from CJ so I had no idea.”

The first they did hear from Ujah was a Zoom call six weeks ago in which he told them he thought the infraction was down to contaminated supplements.

The 27-year old admitted to them they were not batch tested, therefore uncertified for safe use by Informed Sport, as required by British Athletics. “

As a team mate I feel let down,” said Kilty. “We have people working full-time (at UK anti-doping) who do an incredible job educating us: check your supplements, Informed Sport only, update your Adams.” Adams – Anti-Doping Administration & Management System – centralises doping control-related information and makes it easy for the athletes to stay on top of their daily testing commitment. “

Only CJ knows the truth but we’ve got two scenarios here,” Kilty added.

“Either CJ’s taken drugs or he has taken supplements which are not tested. Either way it’s reckless and it’s not playing by the rules. “

And sadly it’s affected his career and three of our careers, our families, absolutely everything. It’s a tragedy for all of us involved.

“He’s apologised to us and our families, he’s genuinely upset, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive him because me, Zharnel and Nethaneel have lost a medal at the hands of his mistakes.

“We’ve worked so, so hard the last six years to create that brotherhood and to finally reach the pinnacle and win an Olympic medal.

“To lose it because one person has just been sloppy and reckless with what’s gone into their body.. it’s heartbreaking.”

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs furiously denies doping allegations

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs has furiously denied doping allegations and claimed his gold medal was won with “blood, sweat, tears and injuries.”

Jacobs, 27, shocked the world in Tokyo last summer when he took the title from America’s Fred Kerley by clocking 9.80 seconds.

His time represented a new Italian record and the third occasion during the Games where he had broken the 10-second barrier, having only done so once previously.

He later notched an historic double by helping the Italian team to gold in the 4x100m relay and was duly chosen to carry his country’s flag at the closing ceremony.

But adulation from his homeland was negated by skepticism elsewhere, especially when Jacobs announced he would be ending his season immediately after Tokyo.

Japan wasn’t the only time that the sprinter had been perceived to have over-performed last year, also taking the European indoor title in Torun in a personal best of 6.47 seconds.

Perception was further plagued following the Olympics when Jacobs’ former nutritional advisor, Giacomo Spazzini, was held in a police investigation dubbed ‘Operation Muscle Bound’ over the illegal distribution of anabolic steroids.

However, Jacobs himself continues to vehemently deny any personal wrongdoing, and when asked in an interview with the Daily Telegraph if he had taken performance enhancing drugs, emphatically answered “Absolutely not, and I would not.

“People think they can say whatever they want about you without understanding that sometimes what they say can be hurtful.

“The negative pieces hurt me a bit because what they did was put doubt over my victories. My victories represent extreme hard work. Hard work that nobody saw, hard work that was blood, sweat, tears and injuries.”

On his dubiously timed break from the sport, Jacobs insisted it was down to physical exhaustion, and not a ploy to avoid scrutiny, claiming he “needed to regenerate my mind and body.”

Jacobs started out in professional athletics as a long-jumper, and in 2016 was crowned national champion and listed 10th in the IAAF rankings.

However, he missed the Rio Olympics due to a hamstring problem and then three years later switched to sprinting, citing the regular injuries he was picking up in long-jump.

Olympic gold represented a meteoric rise in the discipline, and he became the first European athlete to triumph in the event since Linford Christie at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.

Laura Muir: I’ve got a few years left in these legs – Olympic silver was not the end

Laura Muir knows she may never better the Olympic silver medal that gave Britain a night to remember in Tokyo.

But as the New Year dawns she insists her first taste of global success has only made her more hungry.

Until now Muir awoke from every Hogmanay resolving to shed her ‘nearly’ tag. Not today, not after that 1,500 metres performance.

It remains to be seen whether she will ever top beating Sifan Hassan to second place behind Faith Kipyegon in a British record time.

But the 28-year-old Scot has made clear she will not fail for the want of trying.

“The fire inside me is, if anything, burning even more fiercely now,” she said. “Tokyo gave me a taste of what it’s like to be on a global podium.

“I want more of that; I want to add more medals. It’s going to be incredibly tough. This is probably the most competitive time there’s been in my event. But I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

Rather than rest on her laurels, Muir has targeted all three championships this summer: Worlds, Commonwealths and Europeans.

She has already returned to racing, winning the Scottish Short Course Cross-Country Championships.

It was small beer compared to the Olympics but it sent a message that she is back up and running, business as usual.

“I think I’ve got a few years left in these legs,” she smiled. “I’ll keep on running competitively for as long as my body holds up.

“To have finally put a performance out there that shows the calibre of athlete I am is huge for me. I always knew I could do it, but going to Tokyo and delivering has given me huge belief.

“I will now go into championships more relaxed, with the confidence that I’ve been and done it already. That’s a huge hurdle. Now I’m over it, things should be a bit smoother in that sense.

“It’s going to be hard, of course it is. But I’m incorporating more strength and conditioning work to make me stronger.

“It’s a matter of being consistent and staying injury free. If I work as hard as I can hopefully it will get me closer and closer to that golden position.”

Seb Coe: Track and field dopers are “architects of their own downfall”

Seb Coe says British sprinter CJ Ujah’s ongoing doping case is a painful reminder that athletics is committed to cleaning up its act.

Ujah is provisionally suspended having tested positive for a banned substance after helping Team GB win an Olympic sprint relay silver medal in Tokyo.

The case is with the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and as the year ends the 27-year old has yet to learn his fate.

Ujah insists he is “not a cheat” and has “never and would never knowingly take a banned substance”.

Lord Coe, a former chairman of the British Olympic Association, said that “of course” he would be disappointed were the case against the Londoner to be proven.

It would mean not only him, but team mates Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, losing their medals and Team GB giving up the notable achievement of matching their 65-medal haul of London 2012.

But Coe, boss of World Athletics, added that from a broader perspective the case provided further evidence of track and field’s increased determination to protect its competitive integrity.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe ( Image: PA)

“Take Great Britain out of this,” said Coe. “I would share the disappointment in any federation and in any athlete that falls fouls.

“I am sorry to say this, and I am not going to be romantic or emotional about it, they are the architects of their own downfall here. The rules are very clear. It is not arcane maritime law.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), for its education programme, making sure athletes and federations understand what the roles, the rules, the obligations are.

“Take Great Britain out of this,” said Coe. “I would share the disappointment in any federation and in any athlete that falls fouls.

“I am sorry to say this, and I am not going to be romantic or emotional about it, they are the architects of their own downfall here. The rules are very clear. It is not arcane maritime law.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), for its education programme, making sure athletes and federations understand what the roles, the rules, the obligations are.

“So, yes, I am disappointed in so far as every positive is not a good story. But in a way it does show that we are at least tackling this issue now and we are a federation who are not doing junk tests.

“We are not sitting there saying we have hundreds of thousands of meaningless tests. We are doing it in a very systemic and effective way. We will continue to that.”

World champions Christian Coleman and Salwa Eid Naser both missed Tokyo due to bans, as did 2016 Olympic hurdles champion Brianna Rollins-McNeal.

Ahead of the delayed Games, Coe even warned: “There is a greater chance of (cheats) being caught than probably any previous Games.”

Last night he added: “I want athletes to recognise that it really doesn’t matter where they reside, what systems they are in, whether they come from small, medium-sized, large, powerful federations.

“The philosophy is pretty simple, everybody will be treated exactly the same way. I think it is demonstrating that.”