Athletics Integrity Unit Bans Okagbare For 10-year

The Athletics Integrity Unit has slammed a 10-year ban on top Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare for testing positive for human growth hormone.

Nigerians were left in shock when the suspension of Okagbare was announced on the eve of the Women’s 100m semi-final race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

After almost seven months of no verdict by the AIU, an outright ban has now been placed on Okagbare who remains Nigeria’s most successful athlete in recent times and one of Africa’s best too.

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According to the statement AIU, Okagbare is banned for five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to cooperate with the AIU’s investigation into her case.

She has the right to file an appeal against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 30-days.

The statement read: “The Disciplinary Tribunal has banned Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare for a total of 10 years, five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case.

“The sole arbitrator adjudicating the case concluded that the athlete’s use of multiple prohibited substances as part of an organised doping regimen in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games was egregious conduct that amounted to aggravating circumstances under the Rules thereby warranting an additional period of ineligibility on top of the standard four-year sanction.

“The sole arbitrator also recognised the AIU’s right to carry out investigations, including the imaging of electronic devices, and to impose sanctions when an athlete refuses to co-operate with an investigation and thereby frustrates the AIU’s ability to fulfil its mandate to protect the integrity of the sport of athletics. In this instance, the sole arbitrator concluded that the athlete’s refusal to cooperate had denied the AIU the opportunity to discover evidence of possible further rule violations by her as well possible violations of the rules by others, for which he imposed an additional sanction of five years.”

15th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph
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