Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has slapped Botswana men’s 800 meters track star Nijel Amos with a three-year ban for doping violations.
The 29-year-old Olympic silver medallist tested positive for the banned substance GW1516 last year in the run-up to the track world championship. Amos’ ban means the athlete will now not be legible for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The ban will see him return to the track in 2025. Botswana National Anti-Doping officer Ntebogang Khubamang says the athlete received a lenient ruling than the standard four year ban due to him admitting to the charges laid against him.
His ban will also come as a worry for Botswana, with the country now experiencing a rise on the number of athletes implicated in doping. With a lot of anti-doping education already undertaken, Khubamang states that as a testing organisation, there is not much they can do to help athletes and associations.
She says that it is usually an athlete’s responsibility to ensure they are well educated on matters of doping. “The biggest problem that we are facing in Botswana when it comes to doping is that associations hardly engage us to teach athletes about doping despite knowing the severity of it. We mainly focus on elite athletes and our focus has only been on testing them but not educating them at the same time. Calling an elite athlete for doping lessons is something they will never turn up for,” Khubamang explains.
The Botswana NADO officer says they have pleaded with associations to allow them to teach athletes about doping, but their pleas have not been heard.
“We have limited resources but our sporting associations are not making anti-doping a priority. Even though Amos case is not what we wish for, it might just be a needed wakeup call to do things differently. We also have to change our course of only focusing on elite athletes but focus also on BISA and BOTESSA athletes and take them through lessons while they are still maturing into elite athletes,” she says.