Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who shares the distinction of being the joint-third-fastest 800m runner in history, has been banned for three years due to doping. Last June, Amos tested positive for GW1516, an experimental drug that modifies the body’s metabolism but is too dangerous for human use.
The ban, which started last July, will run until 2025, meaning that Amos will miss the 2024 Paris Olympics. He received a one-year reduction in his four-year ban due to his early admission and acceptance of the suspension.
Amos had requested a supplement be tested for the presence of the drug after he was provisionally suspended pending an investigation. However, the test did not detect any GW1516 in opened and sealed bottles.
GW1516 was created to improve endurance and burn fat, but tests on rodents found it to cause cancer. As a result, anti-doping organizations have cautioned athletes against using it for safety reasons. Professional cyclists and Olympic race walker Elena Lashmanova have previously tested positive for the drug.
In 2012, Amos won silver in the 800m at the London Olympics, which many consider the greatest Olympic race in history. His time of 1:41.73 matched Seb Coe as the third-fastest man in history in the event. However, Amos has not won an Olympic or world championships medal since then.
In July 2019, he set the world’s best time since the London Olympic final, running 1:41.89. At the Tokyo Olympics, Amos was involved in an incident with American Isaiah Jewett in the semifinals. In a show of good sportsmanship, they assisted each other and later crossed the finish line together. Amos finished eighth in the final.