Nigerian sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare, could face a lengthy suspension from athletics following the discovery of three more doping offences.
Okagbare, had won her first-round heat of the women’s 100 metres in Tokyo before being forced to withdraw when her test results were announced.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said she tested positive for banned substance recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) in a sample collected out-of-competition on 20th June in Nigeria.
In a statement released on Thursday, the AIU said:
The athlete has been charged with the presence and use of a prohibited substance following the
detection of Human Growth Hormone in a sample collected out-of-competition on 19th July in
Slovakia and reported to the AIU on 30th July. This matter was publicly announced on 31st July
when Ms Okagbare was provisionally suspended. She had been scheduled to participate in the
semi-finals of the Toko 2020 women’s 100m that day.
The athlete has also been charged with the presence and use of a prohibited substance following
the detection of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) in a sample collected out-of-competition on
20th June in Nigeria. The AIU requested EPO analysis be conducted on the sample on 29th July and
the adverse analytical finding was reported to the AIU on 12th August. Ms Okagbare was notified
of the adverse analytical finding on 20th August.
The body stated that Human Growth Hormone and EPO are non-specified substances on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and provisionally suspended Okagbare.
The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist was also accused by the body of failing to cooperate during the investigation.
Finally, the AIU has issued a further charge against Ms Okagbare in accordance with Rule 12 of
the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules following the athlete’s refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s
investigation into her case. Specifically, it is alleged that the athlete failed to comply with a
formal requirement to produce relevant documents, records and electronic storage devices,
which was issued to the athlete by the AIU on 15th September.
Okagbare denied all charges and has requested that each of them be submitted to a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal.