Athletics

Nigeria loses relay spot as AIU extend Blessing Okagbare’s ban to 11 years

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 30, 2021 Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare reacts after winning her race in the women’s 100m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. – Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been barred from the Olympics after failing a drug test, the first doping case of the Tokyo games track and field competition, officials said on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

The doping of Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been extended to 11 years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

AIU extended the ban by a year after Okagbare was found to have committed additional anti-doping rule violations.

The 33-year-old is said to have evaded sample collection, tampered, or attempted to tamper with the doping control process.

“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 said in a statement.

“In this instance, Nigeria has lost an important qualification spot. Those are the rules and we will not compromise on integrity.”

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She was charged for her latest anti-doping rule violation on June 10, 2022.

With the ban extension, Nigeria’s 4×100m relay team lose their qualification spot for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States.

Okagbare, a 2008 Olympic long jump silver medallist, was a medal contender for the women’s 100m in Tokyo last year and won her heat in 11.05 seconds.

But she was ruled out of the semi-finals after the AIU said she had tested positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on 19 July.

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