AFN shocked over Okagbare’s 10-year ban

By Joe APU

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria was left in shock over the 10-year Athletics Integrity Union AIU ban on sprinter Blessing Okagbare for doping and refusing to co-operate with the investigation.

According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in a statement released on Friday, Okagbare, who won silver in the long jump at the Beijing 2008 Games was found guilty after an investigation found her culpable.

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AFN President, Tonobok Okowa when contacted by The SunSports on Saturday maintained that the federation would first study the ruling at a meeting due this weekend before a formal reaction would be made to the public on Monday.

Before now, Okagbare had been provisionally suspended last year after testing positive for human growth hormone before the Tokyo Olympics and later hit with three separate anti-doping charges.

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The 33-year-old had competed in the 100m heats in Tokyo on July 31 and was due to run in the semi-final before being suspended.

“The Disciplinary Tribunal banned Okagbare for a total of 10 years, five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case,” AIU said in a statement.

Okagbare also won silver in the long jump at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, while also securing a bronze in the 200m at the same event.

“We welcome the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal; a ban of 10-years is a strong message against intentional and co-ordinated attempts to cheat at the very highest level of our sport,” added Brett Clothier, head of the AIU.

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