Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended from competing at the ongoing Tokyo 2021 Olympics after she tested positive for human growth hormone.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) made this known in a press statement, saying that the 32-year-old Nigerian athlete tested positive for the prohibited substance in an out-of-competition test on July 19 – four days before the Olympics opened.
Okagbare was scheduled to compete in the 100m semi-finals this Saturday evening after she won her heat easily on Friday in 11.05 seconds, finishing ahead of Britain’s Asha Philip and Tynia Gaither from the Bahamas.
Blessing Okagbare Suspended With Immediate Effect
In a statement issued on Saturday morning, the AIU said Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will miss the semi-finals of the Women’s 100m, a race she would have participated in this evening.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria today with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human Growth Hormone.
“Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and 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 Ms. Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on 19 July. The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time yesterday, Friday 30 July.
“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo. She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m this evening.
“The AIU will make no further comment on this matter at this time,” the statement reads.
10 Nigerian Athletes Banned From Tokyo 2020 Olympics
KanyiDaily recalls that the AIU had already banned 10 Nigerian athletes from Tokyo 2020 Olympics as they were not tested rigorously enough in the run-up to the Games.
The AIU said the Nigerian athletes were disqualified because they failed to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations.
The disqualified Nigerian athletes staged a protest in Tokyo on Friday to express frustration at seeing their dreams of competing at the ongoing Olympics dashed by negligence from the Ministry of Sports and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).