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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.”