- The elite athlete has been off the track for nearly 10 months
- Test in June 2022 showed Amos to have used a banned substance
- GW1516 was banned for human use in 2007 and is outlawed by WADA
Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is expected to deliver its verdict on a doping case of Botswana’s most celebrated track runner, Nijel Amos, this week.
This comes after an out-of-competition test in June 2022 showed Amos to have used a banned substance following which he was provisionally suspended from athletics in July.
The substance was GW1516, a metabolic modulator that was banned for human use in 2007 and is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
GW1516 is an experimental drug developed to help build endurance and burn fat, thus modifying the body’s metabolism. It is considered too dangerous for human use after it was found to cause cancer during tests on rodents.
When he was slapped with the suspension, Amos immediately challenged it by appealing the results to the AIU, the body that handles doping cases of track and field athletes.
He also responded through social media that he was investigating what may have caused the positive test and was cooperating fully with relevant authorities to reach a resolution.
The 2012 Olympics silver medalist has spent almost 10 months on the sidelines awaiting the verdict. It is said appealed doping cases can take quite a while before they are resolved because the process involves many verifications by several organisations.
Hoping for leniency
Reached for comment, Amos said he is hoping for leniency because he has been cooperating with relevant authorities. “I have been informed that the verdict will be delivered on the 31st of March 2023,” he said.
“I am hoping for a lenient suspension of six to 12 months if found guilty, considering that I have been cooperating during the entire period of the investigations and have already spent time off the track.”
At Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), Vice President Administration Oabona Theetso responded: “We respect the autonomy of Athletics Integrity Unit. We are also waiting for the final verdict.”
Amos is the fourth Motswana track and field athlete to be suspended after Amantle Montsho, Lydia Jele and Thalosang Tshireletso.
The local anti-doping unit is housed at the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Gender and Culture. It has been hard at work raising awareness and educating elite athletes in different sporting codes about doping through workshops and conferences.