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China’s 4x100m relay team react after they find out that they finished fourth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games final. They could be boosted to bronze. Photo: Xinhua

Tokyo 2020: is China going to boost its Olympic medal tally with 4x100m bronze?

  • Chinese quartet could be in line for medal as Team GB, who finished with silver, sees runner provisionally banned
  • Relay team would make history as first from China to win an Olympic 4x100m relay medal
China could be in line for a late addition to its Tokyo 2020 medal haul after the Athletics Integrity Unit announced a provisional ban on British sprinter Chijindu Ujah over suspected doping.

The body announced that there were adverse findings in the tests of 27-year-old Ujah, who ran the opening leg for Team GB’s 4x100-metre sprint quartet as it was narrowly beaten by Italy and claimed Olympic silver ahead of Canada last week.

China’s team of Su Bingtian, Asia’s fastest man; Tang Xingqiang; Wu Zhiqiang and Xie Zhenye beat Jamaica to claim fourth place behind Italy, Great Britain and Canada.

Depending on the outcome of testing on Ujah’s B-sample, Britain could be stripped of its silver medal in what would be the biggest doping scandal in British Olympic history if the suspension is upheld. Canada could then be in line to be promoted to silver, with China awarded the bronze medal.

Ujah would be given the opportunity to explain how the banned substances got into this system, but could also face a four-year ban.

“The result was reported by the Wada-accredited laboratory of Tokyo on 8 August 2021,” said the International Testing Agency, which collected Ujah’s sample in Tokyo. “The athlete has the right to request the analysis of the B-sample.

“If requested by the athlete and if the B-sample analysis confirms the adverse analytical finding … the case will be referred to the anti-doping division of the court of arbitration for sport for adjudication.

“It will consider the matter of the finding of an anti-doping rule violation and the disqualification of the men’s 4x100 relay results of the British team,” it added.

An amendment to the result would mean the Chinese foursome would make history as the first 4x100m relay team from the country to claim an Olympic medal.

China’s Wu Zhiqiang crosses the line in fourth in the final of the 4x100m relay. Photo: Xinhua
The potential new result would not affect the final medal table, as the internationally recognised methodology of medal counting only initially considers gold medals.

It would, however, take China’s 2020 Games medal tally to 38 golds, 32 silvers and 19 bronze medals, solidifying the performance as China’s best overseas Olympics campaign.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China may get bronze in relay amid doping probe