Okagbare Out of Olympics for Violating Doping Regulations

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare competes in the Women’s 100m Semifinal during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Nigerian medal hopeful at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, Blessing Okagbare, has been provisionally suspended after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human growth hormone.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent integrity body created by World Athletics, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

Growth hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

A provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.

The AIU collected the sample from Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on July 19.

The WADA-accredited laboratory which analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time on Friday.

AIU said the athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension Saturday morning in Tokyo.

She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m Saturday evening.

The AIU said it would make no further comment on the matter at this time.

Okagbare had on Friday cruised to first place in her 100m heat in 11.05 seconds to qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

She was also due to compete in the 200m, as well as the 4x100m relay.

Okagbare, 32, won silver in the long jump at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, the Russian capital, she won silver in long jump and bronze in 100m sprint.

She also won the 100m/200m double at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says it is in the process of obtaining the specifics of the doping violation by sprinter Blessing Okagbare.

AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, in a statement on Saturday in Tokyo, said it was only after this that a full reaction would be issued.

The statement read in parts, “We have received with great shock the press release by the AIU, suspending Blessing Okagbare for a doping test violation.

“The Federation is now in the process of obtaining the relevant details of the announcement after which a full reaction will be issued.”


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