Banned athlete CJ Ujah has been sent a stark warning by UK Sport.
The 28-year-old was suspended from competing until June after testing positive for a banned substance at the Tokyo Olympics – causing Team GB to lose their silver medal from the 4x100m relay at the 2020 Games. While he is unable to receive funding during his ban, a UK Sport eligibility panel has ruled he will be ineligible for funding even when his ban ends, unless he pays an outstanding sum of £10,000.
UK Sport said: “The panel found that Chijindu Ujah was in automatic breach of the eligibility policy owing to his previous admission of an anti-doping violation. In line with the available powers, the panel determined that Chijindu Ujah would be ineligible to receive public funding or publicly funded benefits with effect from 6 August 2021 to 6 June 2023.
“In addition, the panel noted that a previous eligibility panel met on 31 October 2019 and determined that Chijindu Ujah owed outstanding funds to UK Sport. The sum of £10,665 remains outstanding and until that sum is paid in full, he will remain ineligible to receive public funding.”
Though Britain’s sprint relay team in Tokyo, which also included Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Zharnel Hughes and Richard Kilty lost their medals, Ujah was later cleared of intentionally taking prohibited substances. Last October, UK Athletics technical director Stephen Maguire said the sprinter will be considered for selection upon his return. “If [Ujah] is available to compete we will select him,” said Maguire.
“I haven’t spoken to CJ in a couple of years. He made a mistake and that’s clear, I need to see what the environment is like.” The World Athletics Championships take place in Hungary this August next year – two months after Ujah’s ban ends. Therefore, Maguire said Ujah’s fitness will be assessed to see if he will be ready to make a comeback.
“CJ, first of all, has to run fast anyway,” said Maguire, who rejoined UK Athletic last September as a replacement for Christian Malcom. “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 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.”
When the news of his positive test emerged, Ujah said he had “unknowingly consumed a contaminated substance” and the incident is one he would “regret for the rest of my life”. This was heartbreaking news for his teammates, especially Kilty who said last year he would never forgive Ujah for his “sloppy and reckless” behaviour.
When asked if it would prove quite challenging to reintegrate Ujah back into the Team GB setup, Maguire said: “Yes is the word because we have to reaffirm where we’re at, are we all on the same page? I’d be surprised if – although I’m not sure mediation is the right word – we didn’t have conversations about this, how it’s going to look.
“There is going to be a big group of athletes, not just CJ, Adam (Gemili), Richard or Zharnel. It’s a group working together to understand how to do things.”