The sprinter Reece Prescod has become the first British athlete to publicly forgive CJ Ujah for failing a drugs test and costing Team GB a 4x100m relay silver medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Prescod, who ran the 100m for Team GB in Japan and was a reserve for the 4x100m team, revealed that he had reached out to Ujah – who has blamed a contaminated supplement after the banned substances ostarine and S23 were found in his urine – and hoped to see him running again.
“We’ve spoken and me and CJ are cool,” said Prescod. “It was his birthday, I reached out to him, we had a conversation. He was very upset by what unfortunately happened.
“Some of the boys went to his party, a small gathering of his close family and friends,” he added. “He’s still a person at the end of the day. You can’t just rule someone out.”
Prescod’s stance is notably more sympathetic than that of the British Olympic Association and his other teammates. Richard Kilty, for instance, who was one of the other members of the 4x100m team, has called Ujah’s behaviour “sloppy and reckless” – and said he would never forgive him.
What particularly frustrated Kilty was that Ujah said he was using supplements that were not batch-tested by Informed Sport – which meant that he had no defence when banned substances were found in his urine in Tokyo.
Reece Prescod in action during the 100m heats in Tokyo
Reece Prescod (centre) in action during the 100m heats in Tokyo. Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
Ujah is now facing a four-year ban, although he is hoping that his contaminated supplement defence may get that reduced.
“I personally think he’ll run again, definitely,” added Prescod. “Of course I’d like him to. Got to see where his legal situation goes but CJ was extremely talented, one of the most talented sprinters we’ve ever had. It would be nice for him to get back on a track and run again. It’s one of those unfortunate things that can happen.”
Prescod, meanwhile, competes over 100m in the Birmingham Diamond League on Saturday hoping to make up for lost time after overcoming injuries and the weight he piled on during lockdown due to too many Deliveroo orders.