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Blessing Okagbare doping ban extended to 11 years

As a result of the additional ban, Nigeria has lost its qualification place in the women's 4x100m relay at the upcoming World Championships

Photo by: W/C

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been given an extra year’s ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to her existing 10-year suspension for doping violations, evading sample collections and tampering with the doping control process. As a result of the additional ban, Nigeria has lost its qualification place in the women’s 4x100m relay at the upcoming World Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Blessing Okagbare in the women’s 200m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: W/C

In February, the 33-year-old was handed her original ban for “multiple breaches of anti-doping rules.” She was initially suspended during the Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test taken a few days before her event.

“Over the years, we have repeatedly seen how one person’s actions adversely affect teammates who have trained hard and worked honestly for their results,” AIU head Brett Clothier said in a statement. “In this instance, Nigeria has lost an important qualification spot. Those are the rules and we will not compromise on integrity.”

The reasoning behind the Nigerian relay team suspension is that Okagbare played a significant role in helping her team qualify for the World Championships, six days after she evaded a sample collection on June 13, 2021. All results from 2021 that involved Okagbare have now been disqualified. 

Okagbare won her heat in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics but was ruled out of the semi-finals after the AIU said she had tested positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on July 19, 2021.

She previously won bronze in the 200m at the 2013 World Championships and is an Olympic and World Championship medallist in the long jump. She holds the Commonwealth Games record in the 100m at 10.85, set in Glasgow in 2014.

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