*As Nigeria Awaits Details On Okagbare’s Doping Rule Violation

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Team Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human growth hormone.

The AIU, which is an independent integrity body created by the World Athletics, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the growth hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

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 Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on July 19.

The WADA-accredited laboratory which analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time on Friday.

AIU said the athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension Saturday morning in Tokyo.

She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m Saturday evening.

The AIU said it would make no further comment on the matter at this time.

Okagbare had on Friday cruised to first place in her 100m heat in 11.05 seconds to qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

She was also due to compete in the 200m, as well as the 4x100m relay.

The 32-year-old medal prospect for Nigeria won silver in the long jump at Beijing 2008 Olympics.

At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, she won long jump silver and 100m bronze, while she won the 100m/200m double at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She is competing in her fourth Olympics for Nigeria. (NAN)

*As Nigeria Awaits Details On Okagbare’s Doping Rule Violation</em

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says it is in the process of obtaining the relevant details of the announcement of a doping rule violation by Blessing Okagbare.

Tonobok Okowa, the federation’s President, in a statement Saturday in Tokyo, said it was only after this that a full reaction would be issued.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics (WA) had, in a statement earlier on Saturday, said the Nigerian 100m/200m record-holder has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect.

It said this was after a sample collected from the 32-year-old tested positive for human growth hormone.

Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Human growth hormone reduces body fat, increases muscle mass and strength and helps in recovery, according to WADA.

A provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics (WA) Anti-Doping Rules.

“We have received with great shock the press release by the AIU, suspending Blessing Okagbare for a doping test violation.

“The Federation is now in the process of obtaining the relevant details of the announcement after which a full reaction will be issued,” Okowa had stated.

Meanwhile, neither the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) nor the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has reacted to this development.

AIU said it collected the sample from Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on July 19.

It revealed that the WADA-accredited laboratory, which analysed the sample, notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at midday on Friday.

The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension Saturday morning in Tokyo.

She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m Saturday evening in Tokyo.

This is the latest blow for Nigeria’s athletics team after 10 members were ruled ineligible for the Tokyo Games on Wednesday for failing to meet minimum testing requirements.

Okagbare’s silver medal from the Beijing 2008 Games was as a result of her being upgraded in 2017.

This was after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disqualified Russian athlete Tatyana Lebedeva due to a doping offence.

She had originally finished third in that long jump competition. (NAN)

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