Athletics Integrity Unit suspends Divine Oduduru for six years
It was a sad day for the Athletics Federation in Nigeria when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) confirmed the suspension of Divine Oduduru for six years for breaching two anti-doping rules.
AIU released the statement on its official website on Thursday, October 12, 2023. According to the body, Divine Oduduru got a four-year ban for the possession of prohibited substances and the attempted use of a prohibited substance and an additional two years for aggravating circumstances. He was also ordered to pay $3000 to the World Athletics for its expenses regarding the case.
The AIU added that they had evidence of WhatsApp messages between already-banned Blessing Okagbare and Lira, where it was revealed that Okagbare was soliciting prohibited substances on Oduduru’s behalf.
The head of the AIU, Brett Clothier, said in the statement,
"We are very pleased with the outcome of this matter, given its particularly grievous nature, exposing the sinister collusion between athletes and other persons in deliberate plans to corrupt athletics at the highest level. The Athlete has committed ADRVs under Rules 2.6 and 2.2 ADR. The violations shall be considered together as one single first violation. A period of Ineligibility of six (6) years is imposed by the Panel upon the Athlete commencing on the date of the Decision. The period of Provisional Suspension imposed on the Athlete from 9 February 2023 until the date of the decision shall be credited against the total period of Ineligibility. The Athlete’s results from 12 July 2021 until the date that the Provisional Suspension was imposed, on 9 February 2023, shall be disqualified with all resulting consequences, including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points and prize and appearance money."
However, Oduduru maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. The ban takes retroactive effect from February 9, 2023, until February 8 2029.