Richard Kilty says CJ Ujah should face Olympic ban as team lose 4x100m medals after doping violation

Richard Kilty said that, in most circumstances, an athlete who costs their teammates a medal at the Olympics should not be allowed to compete in the tournament again

The Olympic silver medal Richard Kilty won as part of Britain’s 4 x 100 sprint team is sitting at his home, but he knows now, that very soon, there will be a knock on the door and he’ll have to hand it back. That’s because teammate CJ Ujah tested positive for two banned substances, leaving him facing a lengthy ban and Team GB’s stunning achievement in Tokyo scrubbed from the record books.

Great Britain's Chijindu Ujah, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake on the podium with their silver medals in 2021. Credit: PA

Kilty admits he’s still “heartbroken and devastated” and believes strongly that Ujah should now face the ultimate sanction; a lifetime ban from the Olympics: “If you have cost your teammates an Olympic medal at the Olympic Games, I don't think - unless it is a lab error or completely out of your hands... then I don't think you should be allowed to compete at the Olympics again.

"If you failed a drugs test at the Olympic games and you haven't played true to the rules; whether that's taking the wrong supplements or taking drugs, I don't think should be allowed to compete again.”

Ujah apologised to Kilty, and the other two members of the team Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, in what Kilty calls a “very brief, awkward and tough conversation” which he found difficult to accept: “Of course he’s going to apologise but you can’t do those things.”

But what made the discussion worse, is it seems that Ujah offered no real explanation for what happened.

“It would be interesting to see, or for him to say to us, well, this is the supplement which I took which lost us all our Olympic medal.

"If that was me and there was a supplement which I found that I took stupidly anyway by it not being an Informed Sport.

"If that was the supplement... which ruined my life and my teammates' life. And we haven’t seen that yet. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t but only CJ knows the truth.”

'Only CJ knows the truth'

Kilty says avoiding contaminated or supplements containing a banned substance is straightforward thanks to the “Informed Sport” testing and certification programme.

He never takes a drink or supplement that doesn’t have the Informed Sport logo on it, meaning the product has been scrutinised before being sold.

Elite athletes, he says, are told constantly only to take Informed Sport products. It’s an unwritten but golden rule. So was there any way Kilty could have accepted CJ’s apology?

"No, definitely not because no matter what, I’m not going to fail a drug test, Nethaneel is not going to fail a drug test, Zharnel is not going to fail a drug test... for one simple reason, we don’t take drugs.

"Everything we put in our bodies we are accountable for."

"That’s what we get taught.

"So he’s clearly taken supplements which are not Informed Sport which is as good as breaking the rules and it’s jeopardised everybody. So that’s unforgiveable; completely.”

'No matter what, I am not going to fail a drug test'

“If it was me personally, I’d have been on the phone to my other three teammates every week saying this is where we are with the case.

"As me as an honest black and white lad, I would say look lads, this was the supplement, we found it, this is what was in it.

"I’m sorry it wasn’t an Informed Sport, I messed up massively, but this is what it is for peace of mind - but we haven’t heard nothing.” “But my thoughts are not with CJ but my other teammates, the British Athletics team and all our friends and families who’ve been affected massively.”

'We have not heard nothing'

Despite the sport’s global reputation and long doping charge sheet, and despite the fact his dream was ripped from him through no fault of his own, Kilty believes British sprinting is clean. That’s his experience at least. He’s also determined to put the anger behind him now and use this experience as motivation to achieve even greater things in his career. The next Olympics in 2024 is the new target:

“We’ve got the talent there in our squad to be able to win the Olympics in good fashion in a couple of years’ time.

"I think we can achieve a bigger moment next time, I think we can. We've got the ability, we've got the talent, we've got the experience and that moment will stay with me forever.’"

'We have got the talent there in our squad to be able to win the Olympics'