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Update: 12:00 PM July 13, 2022

Athletics Canada will address the issue below, after a final report is published by the Athletics Integrity Unit. Currently, Amos is provisionally suspends and the matter is appealable.

His coached, hired by Athletics Canada and scheduled to start on Sept. 1, 2022 has indicated that he has not had contact in anyway with Amos since mid-2021.

The Athletics Canada statement is available here>>

Nijel Amos’ provisional ban

Botswanian 800-metre runner Nijel Amos has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The prohibited substance was the metabolite GW1516. The AIU took the sample on June 4 and made the announcement on June 12.

Amos won silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was the first medal for Botswana. He also won gold during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and is a four-time national champion.

The provisional suspension comes just days before the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships, in which Amos was scheduled to compete in.

“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has today provisionally suspended Nijel Amos of Botswana with immediate effect after a sample collected from the 800m runner tested positive for Metabolites of GW1516, a substance that is prohibited under the 2022 WADA Prohibited List as a metabolic modulator. Substances in this category modify how the body metabolizes fat and GW1516 was originally synthesized and evaluated for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other disorders caused by metabolic problems. GW1516 is not an approved substance for human use and WADA has advised of its health risks for athletes,” read an AIU statement.

The 28-year-old owns a best of 1:41.73, which is the national record and the ninth-fastest time in history. He is the fourth-fastest athlete of all-time behind only Kenyans David Rudisha, Wilson Kipketer, and British athlete Sebastian Coe. The world record currently is 1:40.91.

What is GW1516?

The metabolite GW501516 also known as Cardarine and Endurobol was invented by GlaxoSmithKline in the 1990s. It was a drug planned for use for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases but was abandoned in 2007 because animal testing showed that the drug caused cancer.

However, in 2007, GW1516 showed that administering high doses dramatically improved physical performance in mice. The World Anti-Doping Agency developed a test for GW501516 and other related chemicals and added them to the prohibited list in 2009; it has issued additional warnings to athletes that GW501516 is not safe.

Nijel’s coach was Mark Rowland, who also coached Sally Kipyego to an Olympic medal. Rowland has recently been hired by Athletics Canada to coach the Athletics Canada West Hub in Victoria, BC.