Nigeria’s most celebrated woman athlete, Blessing Okagbare, has been provisionally suspended from the ongoing Tokyo Olympics competition for failing doping test.
Okagbare’s suspension was announced by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) a few hours she was billed to participate in today’s semi-finals of the women’s 100 metres at the Olympics.
The AIU stated that the former World Championships silver medalist tested positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test on July 19, four days before the Olympics games opened.
The human growth hormone, which reduces body fat, increases muscle mass and strength and helps in recovery, is on the list of banned substances in Olympics games.
According to the AIU, the results of the Nigerian athlete’s doping test were received by the track and field’s anti-doping body late on Friday.
“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo,” the AIU stated.
Earlier, the 32-year-old, who won world championship medals in the 200m and the long jump in past events and is competing in her fourth Olympics, had run in the 100 metres heats on the opening day of track competition at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
Okagbare was also due to compete in the 200m and the 4X100m relay competition in the ongoing competition
With her suspension on Saturday morning, indications are that Okagbare will be ruled out of the 100 metres competition today and most likely end her participation in the ongoing 2021 competition in Tokyo, Japan.
But then, under doping regulations, the sprinter is allowed to request that a “B” sample – or backup sample – is tested to double-check the results.
Okagbare’s suspension is the latest blow for Nigeria’s athletics team after 10 track and field athletes had earlier been ruled out of the games three days ago for failing to meet minimum testing requirements.