One of Nigeria’s brightest hopes for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Blessing Okagbare, has been provisionally suspended from the competition.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the independent body created by the World Athletics that manages all integrity issues for the sport, announced the decision on Friday.
According to the AIU, Okagbare 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 said in its statement.
“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 and another Nigerian sprinter, Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha, had earlier qualified from their respective heats for the semi-finals.
But the ban means the end of the road for Okagbare, who was participating in her third Olympics.
Her suspension is the latest blow for Team Nigeria at the Tokyo Olympics.
On Thursday, the AIU had disqualified 10 Nigerian athletes from the Tokyo games for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.