Nigeria’s track and field Olympics team takes a huge blow following the elimination of sprinter Blessing Okagbare over a positive drug test.
Okagbare, 32, produced a failed drug test for human growth hormones. In a press release provided by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), said the 2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist is provisionally suspended for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“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,” stated the AIU.
Okagbare tested positive during an out-of-competition test taken on July 19. She was notified of her suspension this morning, while she was in Tokyo, just hours before this evening’s semi-finals of the women’s 100m, which she was set to compete in.
Okagbare breezed through her 100m heat on Friday, with a time of 11.05 seconds, qualifying her for Saturday’s semi-finals.
On Thursday (July 29), ESPN reported that the AIU determined that of a total of 20 athletes who have been banned from Olympic competition, 10 of them are from Nigeria. At the time, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria said, “It must be noted that no Nigerian athlete tested positive to prohibited substances.”
The AFN had already begun taking precautionary measures, as they appointed Professor Ken Anugweje as the head of the Medical and Anti-Doping Commission of the Federation.
Despite doing damage control, Okagbare’s test was already taken, and her Saturday morning results are another sting to Nigeria’s Olympic roster.