ATHLETICS

Nigeria loses World Championships spot as Okagbare gets extra year ban for doping

Nigeria is the biggest loser after sprinter Blessing Okagbare received an additional one-year ban to the previous 10 years for doping violations.

Blessing Okagbare

Nigerian Athletics has suffered a big loss after star sprinter Blessing Okagbare was handed an extra one-year ban for doping.

Okagbare will now be out from the Athletics scene for 11 years after an extra year was added to the previous 10-year ban she received on February 14, 2021.

The 33-year-old was charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, for "evading sample collection and tampering with doping control process," as per the BBC.

It will be recalled that early last year, Okagbare was practically retired when the Disciplinary Tribunal banned her for 10 years; consecutive five-year bans for the ''presence and use of multiple prohibited substances, and for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case.''

The Nigerian Athletics queen also missed the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test.

With the additional ban on the sprinter, Okagbare, Nigeria is now the biggest loser having lost its potential qualification place in the World Championship slated for July.

The Nigerian women's 4x100 relay team will not be competing at the event scheduled for next month in Oregon after Okagbare helped the country to qualify.

"Over the years, we have repeatedly seen how one person's actions adversely affect team-mates who have trained hard and worked honestly for their results," AIU head Brett Clothier stated in a statement on the AIU website.

“In a relay team, if one member violates the anti-doping rules, everyone bears the brunt of results being expunged. They all pay the price. In this instance, Nigeria has lost an important qualification spot. Those are the rules and we will not compromise on integrity," he added.

Okagbare was part of the relay team that competed in the Nigerian Olympic trials back on June 13, 2021, just six days after she evaded sample collection for tests.

Nigeria picked the relay ticket in that trials but will not be disqualified due to the additional ban.

She competed in the 4x100m relay event at the Nigerian Olympic Trials, with her relay squad qualifying for this year’s Championships. But now, all individual and relay results involving Okagbare, from June 13, 2021, are disqualified under the Rules.

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