Banned and broken, Amos protests his innocence
Despite pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence and to save his pockets from further harm, Botswana’s 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, Nijel Amos insists something doesn’t add up in his doping case.
The 29-year-old Marobela marvel has been banned from Athletics for three years after a urine sample showed traces of the banned substance, GW1516, in his system.
It means Amos will miss what should be the prime years of his career, unable to run again competitively until 11 July 2025 at the earliest, by which time he will be 32.
“These past months have been very painful and I am glad the case has come to an end. The sad thing is that I don’t know what I ate or drank that had that prohibited substance. I had to admit to the charges so that I would get a lesser charge,” the 800m star told Voice Sport in an emotional interview on Wednesday evening, hours after the news of his ban broke.
Amos’ troubles date back to 12 July last year, when he recorded a failed drugs test at an event in Morocco in the build-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. He was immediately handed a provisional suspension by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), and has been sidelined from the sport that made him ever since.
To add to the Silver Star’s confusion, just two days before his failed test, he was subjected to a random drugs test, which he passed with flying colours.
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“I do not know what could have happened on the trip to Morocco,” Amos reiterated, adding having already spent roughly P300, 000 trying to clear his name, he agreed with his legal team to pull the plug and not to appeal the case.
The substance he tested positive for, GW1516 was originally developed in the 1990s to help build endurance and burn fat and as a treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
However, it was discontinued in 2007 after being found to cause cancer during tests on rodents and added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list two years later after its illicit use as a doping agent emerged.
The AIU ruling says Amos initially asked for tests to be run on a supplement he had been taking before the positive test.
No traces of GW1516 were found in either the bottle he had used or another, unopened bottle of the same supplement. He then signed a form admitting to the doping charges.
Ever the optimist, Amos insisted this was not the end.
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He revealed he is already looking ahead to the 2025 World Champions in Tokyo, Japan, set for September, three months after his ban ends, to make his comeback.
“At least it [the ban] will be backdated and I will be able to compete in the 2025 World Championships. Right now I just want to remain focused and train harder. Life goes on,” said Amos, who is planning a Press Conference for Friday.