Posted by News Express | 1 August 2021 | 779 times
For Nigeria, participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has turned into a nightmare, with the outing being ruined by drug scandals that abruptly cut short the participation of eleven star athletes, among them one of the country’s biggest medal hopes, Blessing Okagbare.
The first blow came on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements. The affected athletes are Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) accepted responsibility for the lapses that led to the disqualification even as the affected athletes staged a protest in Tokyo, brandishing placards with the inscriptions “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence”, “All we wanted to do was compete” and “We are not just alternates but potential medalists”.
The shock of the development was yet to be overcome when the news came on Saturday morning that 2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist Blessing Okagbare had been provisionally suspended following a positive test for human growth hormone.
The 32-year-old, who has also won world championship medals in the 200 metres and long jump, and who was at her fourth Olympic Games, had comfortably won her 100 metres heat on Friday with a time of 11.05 seconds, qualifying for Saturday’s semifinals.
She was also due to compete in the 200m as well as the 4X100m relay.
Bu that was not to be, as the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a statement that she tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19 and “was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo”.
On the list of banned substances, human growth hormone reduces body fat, increases muscle mass and strength, and helps in recovery, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.
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