Tag Archives: Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake

How athletics became addicted to supplements

At times during her two-year doping ban, South African 100 metres record holder Carina Horn’s depression plunged to such depths that she considered taking her own life. “I thought about getting in the car, drinking whatever and driving at 200kph,” she admitted.

Horn’s crime was to be lured into a glitzy, celebrity-endorsed, multi-billion pound sports supplement industry that promises so much, but has the capacity to ruin careers.

Forced to fly directly to South Africa from a competition in Switzerland due to visa issues, Horn had been without her usual arsenal of trusted supplements – legal dietary products that aid physical performance – which had remained at her training base in Austria.

Attempting to walk the precarious tightrope of maximising her physical potential while not straying into the realms of illegality, she bought some replacement supplements over the counter in South Africa. When two of those – including the startlingly-named Mutant Madness – turned out to be contaminated with illegal substances, Horn fell foul of doping regulations and had her world rocked overnight.

It was a familiar feeling for the GB men’s 4x100m team last week when they were formally stripped of their Olympic silver medal following CJ Ujah’s failed drugs test. While three of them – Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – suffered the harshest punishment through no fault of their own, Ujah has been left fighting for his reputation and career.

Having not challenged the result of his positive test for two banned muscle-building substances, Ostarine and S-23, he instead sought to explain the offence while awaiting sanction.

Like Horn, Ujah said he “unknowingly consumed a contaminated supplement”. According to Kilty, Ujah told team-mates the supplement had not been batch-tested and therefore was not certified for use by Informed Sport, a standard that British Athletics insists athletes adhere to.

Although precise details will not emerge until Ujah’s case concludes and the authorities determine whether his contamination argument is valid, the overriding question is why Ujah felt the need to risk his livelihood by taking such supplements.

A 2001 study funded by the International Olympic Committee into 634 supplements from 13 different Western countries found 14.8 per cent contained prohibited substances not listed on the label. Yet despite athletes being solely responsible for everything in their body, regardless of how it got there, and all leading anti-doping organisations warning against supplement use, it is almost unheard of for an international-level athlete not to take a supplement of some form.

“We understand that supplement use is very common,” said UK Anti-Doping head of education Paul Moss. “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with some really aggressive marketing campaigns around it. It’s there and it’s not going to stop.

“It’s really difficult when you have a supplement with the face of a global superstar sportsperson endorsing it and saying it has changed their life.”

Aware that telling athletes not to take supplements is a futile battle, authorities instead urge them to use organisations like Informed Sport to ensure substances are batch-tested and certified. For British athletes, it is a message regularly promoted, including in a 45-minute mandatory workshop before last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I can’t just go into a Holland & Barrett and pick up any protein shake off the shelf,” said Kilty. “You’ve got to follow the rules and that means checking all of your supplements. Preferably not taking supplements if you can, but we all do take supplements, but they are all on Informed Sport.”

One sprinter who competed at the Tokyo Games told Telegraph Sport that supplements are seen as “100 per cent legal performance enhancers” in a sport where medals are decided by miniscule margins.

Olympic and world 4x400m relay medalist Martyn Rooney explained: “You’re pushing your body to the limit so you need to support it as much as you can. You supplement with whatever you need to take on.

“It’s just trying to maximise your body without delving into banned substances. From an athlete’s point of view it’s a normal part of life and as long as you’re using Informed Sport it should be fine.”

The problem comes from a discrepancy in standards worldwide. While the 2001 study found an almost 15 per cent supplement contamination rate in Western countries, the risk in more developing countries might be far higher.

Brett Clothier, head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, said: “The reality is that in the majority of places around the world, athletes can’t get access to those reputable supplements so it becomes really risky. It’s really difficult to guarantee anything. That’s why our advice, as a general rule to all athletes, is not to take supplements.”

With a reduction in length of the mandatory four-year doping ban available if athletes can prove a failed test is due to inadvertent ingestion such as supplement contamination, Moss admits that does “at times mean defences are built on spurious attempts to show this when a deliberate doping offence has been made”.

However, of 90 worldwide athletics doping cases that have concluded since the start of 2020, only six have involved supplement contamination, of which three were successfully argued and resulted in shorter bans. Horn’s was one of them.

Analysis of the alarming 10 supplements (including nutritional aids, vitamins, painkillers and sleeping tablets) she was taking at the time of her failed test in 2019 found two were contaminated with the banned substances Ibutamoren and Ligandrol.

Horn also proved she had contacted the chief executive of the supplement company prior to purchase, who wrongly confirmed the products were safe for elite athletes.

“I’d done all my homework, spoken to my coach, and spoken to the CEO so I thought it was all good,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter how much research you do.”

Having concluded Horn had “by the very narrowest of margins” demonstrated the failed test was unintentional, the AIU banned her for two years.

While Ujah’s fate remains unknown, Horn is now free to return to competition after her suspension expired in September. Burned by her experience, she is ready to test the anti-doping agencies’ theories that you can win without additional aid.

“I now don’t feel comfortable taking any supplements,” she said. “I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

“This upcoming season, I’m not going to take anything at all – just Red Bull, Powerade and water. So I will 100 per cent see how much supplements actually help you.”

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Great Britain stripped of Olympic silver medal after Ujah doping confirmed

Great Britain’s 4x100m relay team has been stripped of its Olympic silver medal in the men’s 4x100m relay that they won in Tokyo last August after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld Chijindu Ujah’s anti-doping violation on Friday.

Ujah has been provisionally suspended since Ostarine and S-23 — both substances prohibited by World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) — were detected in his sample in Tokyo.

The CAS had the hearing in November but only revealed on Friday. It found that the 27-year-old sprinter did have two banned substances in a urine sample, ostarine and S-23, which are known as selective androgen receptor modulators that mimic testosterone in the body.

Ujah had blamed his failed test on a contaminated supplement. However under the strict liability rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency that is no defence.

The British men’s quartet of Ujah, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake missed out on the 4x100m title by just a hundredth of a second in Tokyo, as the anchor-leg runner Mitchell-Blake was overhauled on the line by Italy’s Filippo Tortu.

Canada will now be upgraded to silver with China moving into the bronze medal position. “I accept the decision issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport today with sadness,” Ujah said in a statement issued by UK Athletics.

“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 at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “I would like to apologise to my teammates, their families and support teams for the impact which this has had on them. I’m sorry that this situation has cost my teammates the medals they worked so hard and so long for, and which they richly deserved. That is something I will regret for the rest of my life.”

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.”

Great Britain could lose Tokyo Olympics silver medal after CJ Doping suspension

British sprinter CJ Ujah has been suspended after testing positive for a banned substance – and it could mean bad news for Team Great Britain.

Ujah, 27, was the lead-off runner in Team GB men’s 4x100m relay team who won silver at Tokyo 2020 Olympics earlier this month.

He has been provisionally suspended from competition, Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said.

According to the AIU, Ujah, who is the British champion over 100m, tested positive for ostarine and S-23, both of which are listed as prohibited substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The sprinter’s positive test could also mean bad news for his Team GB team-mates

World Athletics Anti-Doping rules state that where an athlete who has committed an ADRV ran as member of a relay team: “The relay team shall be automatically disqualified from the event in question, with all resulting consequences for the relay team, including the forfeiture of all titles, awards, medals, points and prize and appearance money.”

If proven, Team GB men’s entire 4x100m relay team, consisting of Ujah, Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, would be stripped of their silver medals.

However, all hope is not lost for Ujah, who has yet to comment on the findings.

He can still request analysis of the B-sample – kept for storage while the A-sample is analysed.

Should that confirm an Adverse Analytic Finding, his case will be referred to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The International Testing Agency (ITA) said: “The Cas ADD will consider the matter of the finding of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation [ADRV] and the disqualification of the men’s 4 x 100 relay results of the British team”.

Ujah, along with Kilty, Hughes and Mitchell-Blake, only narrowly missed out on winning gold in Tokyo.

The quartet were leading going into the final 100m but unable to hold off the Italian challenge as anchor runner Mitchell-Blake was headed on the line by Filippo Tortu.

Team GB missed out on gold by just a hundredth of a second.

Guliyev bags gold medal in 200m at European Championships

Turkish world champion sprinter Ramil Guliyev on Aug. 9 captured the gold medal in the 200-meter men’s race in the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Guliyev also broke a record with his 19.76-second showing on day three of the tournament, with British athlete Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake coming in second with 20.04 seconds.

Guliyev, who is originally from Azerbaijan but gained Turkish citizenship in 2011, secured his first gold medal for Turkey last year, in the men’s 200 meters at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London.

In a telephone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Guliyev on his achievement.

Earlier Aug. 9, Turkish athlete Yasmani Copello Escobar scored a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles men’s final.

Escobar ran the 400-meter hurdles in 47.81 seconds, breaking Turkey’s previous record of 47.92 seconds.

Norwegian Karsten Warholm won the gold medal with 47.64 seconds, and Irish Thomas Barr won the bronze with 48.31 seconds.

The European Athletics Championships 2018 are being held on Aug. 6-12.

In 2016 Escobar won the gold medal in the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam.

CJ Ujah comes under fire from Usain Bolt for Commonwealth Games no-show

Usain Bolt criticised English sprinter CJ Ujah for opting not to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

Ujah chose to focus on the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, where he was disqualified for a false start in the semi-finals, and is instead training in the United States.

As the Diamond League champion over the 100metres, a crown he won in the aftermath of last year’s World Championships in London, he would have been among the favourites for gold. Ujah recorded a time of 10.15sec in Arizona five days ago, which would have been enough for silver at the Commonwealth Games.

Asked about Ujah’s no-show, Bolt said: “I feel that the Commonwealths is an important stepping stone. I would have done it. People make decisions, you don’t know why. For me, I was very keen on coming here as I look at this as a major championship.

“I want every gold medal in my cabinet. I’m not one of those persons that says the Commonwealths is not important. For me, I find it very important. If they don’t show up, that’s their loss.”

Ujah’s absence has meant that none of the British 4x100m relay team who won gold in London last summer is now competing here.

Adam Gemili pulled out of the 100m final with a thigh injury picked up in his semi-final, while Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was a late injury withdrawal and Danny Talbot is also on the sidelines recovering from injury.

The England team’s options are depleted for the relay, the quartet of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and 110m hurdler Andrew Pozzi now the only realistic options for tomorrow’s qualifying round. Despite his stance on the issue, Bolt raced at just one Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow four years ago, where he was part of the 4x100m relay team that won gold. He missed the 2006 Games in Melbourne with a hamstring injury and said the subsequent event in 2010 had been “bad timing”.

The athletics has been devoid of many of its global stars but the now retired sprinter insisted the Commonwealths remained a key event for the future.

He said: “A championship for me is a championship. I turned up prepared and ready to go. I see no reason 40 years down the line the Commonwealths won’t be here. I take them seriously.

source: standard.co.uk