A doping ban for Thando Dlodlo means that his South African team-mates Akani Simbine, Tlotliso Gift Leotlela and Clarence Munyai are set to lose the gold medals they won at the 2021 World Athletics Relays.
Dlodlo, who ran the first leg of the 4x100m final at the event in Poland last May, tested positive for testosterone at the South African championships in Pretoria a few weeks before the team’s success in Chorzow.
The 23-year-old has been suspended for a two and a half years by the South Africa Doping Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids).
A spokesperson for Simbine, who finished fourth in the 100m at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, said he was devastated but that he would not be giving any further comment at this time.
It means Italy would be promoted to become men’s 4x100m World Athletics Relays gold medallists, with Japan set to get silver medals and Denmark moving up to bronze.
World Athletics has yet to comment on Dlodo’s case and disqualify the South African team.
Dlodlo’s ban, which runs until 28 December 2023, was reduced from four years after he admitted the offence.
The sprinter missed out on competing at the Olympics last year after being informed of his positive test on 29 June and being provisionally suspended.
The sanctions will not affect South Africa’s continental record for the 4x100m relay that the team, which included Dlodlo, set at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Qatar.