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Athletics Integrity Unit Bans Blessing Okagbare for 10 years | See Full Details

Nigeria's Sprinter, Blessing Okagbare has been banned for 10 years after she breached multi anti-doping rules at the just concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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Blessing Okagbare
Blessing Okagbare

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The news was confirmed in a statement released by the Athletics Integrity Unit on Friday, February 18th, 2022. She was issued a five-year ban for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and another five years gor her refusal to corporate with the body's investigation of her case.

The 33-year-old was banned from the games before the women's 100 meters semi-final after testing positive for human growth hormone at an out-of-competition test in Slovakia on July 19th, 2021.

She has the right to appeal against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 30-days.

Why Blessing Okagbare is Banned?

The AIU said it is working closely with USADA “to follow developments in the matter (the criminal investigation),” regarding Lira and the ‘sole arbitrator’ that worked on her doping case had identified Okagbare as ‘Athlete 1’.

“On 12 January 2022, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the unsealing of a first criminal charge under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act against Eric Lira, a US based “naturopathic” therapist, who is alleged to have supplied performance-enhancing drugs to athletes before the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The sole arbitrator concluded that Athlete 1 named in the criminal complaint is Blessing Okagbare.”

The indictment included encrypted correspondence from Okagbare — identified only as “Athlete 1” — and Lira where the Nigerian testifies to the effectiveness of the substances following Olympic trials in Lagos on June 17, where she clocked a wind-assisted 10.63sec in the 100m.

The Call between Okagbare and Eric

“Hola amigo / Eric my body feel so good / I just ran 10.63 in the 100m on Friday / with a 2.7 wind / I am sooooo happy / Ericccccccc / Whatever you did, is working so well,” Okagbare wrote.

In a later message, Lira said Okagbare was poised to “dominate” in Tokyo.

“What you did . . . is going to help you for the upcoming events,” Lira wrote. “You are doing your part and you will be ready to dominate.”

The indictment also included details of further exchanges between Okagbare and Lira after she is informed of her positive test.

Call me urgently. . . [t]hey said one of my result came out positive on HGH . . . I don’t understand,” Okagbare wrote.

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