Lamont Marcell Jacobs, the shock Italian winner of the men’s 100m at the Olympic Games, has said news of CJ Ujah’s alleged doping breach made him «smile» as he told British sport to «look at your own situation first before attacking others».
Britain’s 4x100m relay team face being stripped of their silver medals after Ujah was suspended for an alleged anti-doping breach less than a week after the Tokyo games finished.
Italy pipped Britain to gold by 0.01 seconds, Jacobs’ second success of the Games after he stormed to victory in the sport’s blue riband event. However, there was immediate scrutiny over Jacobs’ victory after it emerged his former sports nutritionist, Giacomo Spazzini, a professional bodybuilder, was the subject of a police investigation into alleged use of anabolic steroids to alter athletic performance.
Jacobs, who stunned the athletics world at the Tokyo Olympics when he ran a European record of 9.80 seconds to claim sprint gold, confirmed he had separated from Spazzini earlier this year after being made aware of the probe, with his agent Marcello Magnani telling Telegraph Sport: «I confirm you that Marcell stopped to work with Giacomo Spazzini in March, as soon as he has known about the investigation.»
But while speaking about the allegations for the first time he also took a swipe at Britain after Ujah was alleged by the Athletics Integrity Unit to have tested positive during the Games for S-23 – Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), which aids muscle building, and Ostarine, an anabolic agent.
«Accusations of doping? The situation hasn’t really affected me that much, I know the sacrifices and the hardships I’ve gone through to get here and instead I want to enjoy it 100%,» Jacobs told the Italian TV breakfast show, Unomattina.
«After seeing the investigation into Ujah, I’d say that maybe it’s better to look at your own situation first before attacking others. The whole thing makes me smile.»
Meanwhile, Hugh Robertson, the chair of the British Olympic Association, described Ujah’s alleged breach as «intensely disappointing news» as Ujah and his team-mates, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, faced the prospect of losing their medal.
«The athlete, of course, remains innocent until proven guilty while the process goes on but it’s a process that we at Team GB and indeed across sport must respect,» Robertson told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
«The athlete has unfortunately been provisionally suspended. That’s clearly desperately sad news for him and also for everyone else who’s affected by it, the other athletes in his relay team.»
It was just earlier this week that Robertson hailed Team GB’s operation at Tokyo 2020 a «remarkable success» as the remaining British athletes landed on home soil after finishing with 65 medals – although that number will be reduced if Ujah is found guilty.
Robertson also confirmed his team had spoken to Ujah since the bombshell announcement but would not be drawn on the specifics of what was said, stressing that «those conversations should very properly remain personal».
He added: «I am feeling enormously disappointed. That’s inevitable when you come off a great high like we’ve had with the Olympics. The team performed wonderfully. This, of course, is one instance in all of that but it’s a serious issue.
«I think we have to be honest about it, we have to respect the process and the outcome and then if something has gone wrong – we don’t know that yet – but if it has, then we have to do everything possible to get it right.»
Under rules set by the International Testing Agency, which collected the positive sample on August 6 after competing in the men’s relay in Tokyo, Ujah has the right to provide a ‘B’ sample for further analysis. «We’ll wait to see whether that happens, as I say he remains innocent until proven guilty and then the process will take its course from there,» added Robertson.
Ujah, the reigning 100m national champion, ran the first leg in the 4×100 relay final where Mitchell-Blake, GB’s anchor-leg runner was chased down by Italy’s Filippo Tortu as Britain settled for the silver medal.
When asked about his feelings for the other three members of the British relay team, Robertson said: «You feel desperately sorry for them, but every single athlete who competes at an Olympic Games knows exactly what the rules are.
«We spend a lot of time and a lot of money educating athletes on the consequences of anti-doping. They know what the rules are and they know what the consequences are if it goes wrong.»