Okagbare Begins 4-Year Ban After Losing Doping Violation Appeal

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Nigerian athlete Blessing Okagbare, may have lost her battle to upturn the 4-year ban placed on her by World Athletics (WA) after failing an out-of-competition test as the result of her B Sample test came out with the same positive outcome as her A Sample test.

The sprinter was thrown out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the eve of the semifinals of the women’s 100m event after testing positive for human growth hormone. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) revealed then that Okagbare failed an out-of-competition test taken on July 19.

She appealed against the suspension immediately, insisting on seeing the result of her B Sample. On Tuesday, Okagbare was allegedly handed four-year ban after the result of her B Sample came out with the same result.

“Okagbare started her four-year ban long ago,” a source close to World Athletics (WA) said in a chat. “It is just unfortunate Blessing Okagbare found herself in this mess.”

“When the result of her A Sample came out, Okagbare had the option of accepting it, which could have seen her ban reduced to two or three years, but she insisted on her B Sample. I pity her though, but WA wants all athletes to compete and win clean.”

“Okagbare’s ban may elapse before the Paris 2024 Olympics,” the official added.

Okagbare had won her heat on Friday (July 30), and was meant to compete in the women’s 100 metres semifinals the next day, when the AIU officially announced her suspension in the morning.

The AIU explained then that the Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list, and a provisional suspension on Okagbare was mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics anti-doping rules.

 

Chidi Nwoke/The Guardian.

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