The Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare, one of the theoretical “outsiders” for the final of 100 meters of the Olympic Games that takes place at dawn in Argentina this Friday, was suspended by doping after a positive control for growth hormone, indicated the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
Okagbare (32 years old), 2008 Olympic long jump runner-up, it was controlled out of competition on July 19. She is the first athlete declared positive during the Olympic period of these Tokyo 2020 Games.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria with immediate effect following a positive result for growth hormone in a sample (…) The AIU took Okagbare’s sample in an out-of-competition test on July 19 “, the AIU wrote in a statement.
Asked by the AFP agency, the athletics anti-doping body did not wish to specify whether the test had been carried out in Japan or in another country. Technically, if the sample was taken by the AIU it couldn’t be in an olympic facility, since there the responsibility lies with the ITA (International Control Agency).
Blessing Okagbare. Photo Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
Growth hormone is within the group of “unspecified substances” on the 2021 list of banned substances drawn up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, according to the acronym in English).
In the case of these substances, the provisional suspension is “mandatory” when a “analytical adverse”, as the positive is officially called in an anti-doping control. The WADA-accredited laboratory that analyzed the sample notified the AIU of the finding on Friday, July 30.
Blessing Okagbare was due to participate this Saturday at 7.15pm local (7.15am from Argentina) in the semi-finals of 100 meters, whose final is scheduled for 9.50 in our country, after having won his series on Friday (11.05).
Nigerian is the seventh best of the season in the straight line (10s89 on July 6). She is also the African record holder in the 200 meters (22s04 in 2018).
From “high risk” to complaints
Blessing Okagbare’s triumph in the Japanese Friday heat. AP Photo / Petr David Josek
On Thursday, Nigeria had seen ten of his 23 athletes selected for the Games in this sport banned for participation in the event because they did not meet the standards of controls anti-doping out of competition. Nigeria, which is one of the countries considered “high risk” by the AIU, must submit to supplementary obligations.
“The sports system of Nigeria it’s totally faulty and we athletes are always the collateral victims“Okagbare had lamented yesterday on his Twitter account.
The sprinter is part of a very high-level group based in Florida (United States) and trained by the American Reider frog, which includes some of the men’s 100m favorites like the American Trayvon Bromelhe and the canadian Andre de Grasse.