Okagbare’s ban has been extended, affecting Nigeria’s placement in World Relay Championships

Blessing Okagbare

The world of Nigeria’s former sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare, has been further shattered as new evidence of doping infringements have been brought against the athlete.

In a statement issued Monday night by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Okagbare has been found to have committed additional anti-doping rule violations – specifically Evading Sample Collection, and Tampering or Attempted Tampering with the Doping Control process.

The latest development has seen Okagbare’s current 10-year ban from athletics extended by one year.

The 33-year-old, who is also a sprinter, was expelled from the Tokyo Olympics last year before the women’s 100m semi-finals after testing positive for human growth hormone at an out-of-competition test in Slovakia on July 19.

Blessing Okagbare, Nigerian Track and Field Athlete

On the eve of the event last year in Tokyo, AIU announced that the double Commonwealth Games sprint winner in Glasgow had tested positive for human growth hormones. Further investigation of the case by the FBI revealed that Okagbare was involved in an orchestrated doping plot involving a US-based “naturopathic” therapist Eric Lira. The United States Department of Justice under the Rodchenkov Act picked Mr Lira for his involvement in supply of performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. Okagbare’s telephone exchanges with Lira were obtained by the FBI. Initial plans to prosecute her for criminal offenses were later dropped by the American Justice Department but this lengthy ban has sort of called time on her illustrious track & field career.

Unfortunately, Okagbare will not suffer the consequences alone as Team Nigeria’s women’s 4x100m team will lose their place at next month’s World Championships in Oregon.

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