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Saturday, 31 July 2021

2020 Tokyo Olympics: Blessing Okagbare Suspended for Doping

Nigerian top athlete, Blessing Okagbare, has been “provisionally” suspended for doping on Saturday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit made this known in a press statement, saying that the 32-year-old Nigerian athlete tested positive for a banned substance – human growth hormone.

The anti-doping body said Okagbare tested positive for the prohibited substance in an out-of-competition test on July 19 – four days before the Olympics opened.

The results of that test were only received by track and field’s anti-doping body late Friday after Okagbare, who won her heat in 11.05seconds, qualified for the semifinals of women’s 100m race at the Olympics

With the suspension, Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

The statement read, “The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria today with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human Growth Hormone.

“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.

“The AIU collected the sample from Ms. Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on 19 July. The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time yesterday, Friday 30 July.

“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo. She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m this evening.

“The AIU will make no further comment on this matter at this time.”

Okagbare is one of Nigeria’s brightest chances of a medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the country is still in search of medal eight days after the competition started.

Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha were expected to face daunting tasks of reaching the final of the women’s 100m at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

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