Nijel Amos, 800m star and Olympic medalist, banned three years for doping
Botswana’s Nijel Amos, the joint-third-fastest 800m runner in history, was banned three years for doping.
The case stemmed to last June, when he tested positive for GW1516, an experimental drug which can modify the body’s metabolism but has been considered too dangerous for human use.
The ban was backdated to last July, when Amos was provisionally suspended pending an investigation. His ban now runs to 2025, which means the 29-year-old Amos will miss the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Amos received a one-year reduction of what would otherwise be a four-year ban because he made an early admission and acceptance of the suspension.
That came after he requested a supplement be tested for the presence of the drug. The test did not detect any GW1516 in opened and sealed bottles.
GW1516 was developed to help build endurance and burn fat but was found to cause cancer during tests on rodents. Anti-doping organizations have warned athletes not to use it on safety grounds.
The drug has previously been found in samples given by professional cyclists and by Olympic race walker Elena Lashmanova. The Russian served a two-year ban and was later stripped of the 20km gold medal she won at the 2012 Olympics for another doping offense.
In 2012, Amos, then 18, took silver in the 800m at the London Games in what many called the greatest Olympic race in history. Kenyan David Rudisha lowered his world record. Amos matched Seb Coe as the third-fastest man in history in the event (1:41.73). Every runner’s time was the fastest ever for that finishing placement.
Amos has not won an Olympic or world championships medal since. In July 2019, he ran 1:41.89, the world’s best time since that London Olympic final.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Amos and American Isaiah Jewett got tangled in the final lap of their semifinal. In an act of good sportsmanship, the runners helped each other up and later jogged across the finish line together in the last two places. Amos was granted a place in the final and finished eighth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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