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Fresh headache for Okagbare as AIU extends doping ban

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The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has extended the 10-year ban on Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare by one additional year.

In February 2022, the body slammed Okagbare, a 2008 long jump silver medalist, with the ban for multiple breaches of anti-doping rules. In reaction, she had said she would take legal action over the decision.

However, following the Nigerian’s alleged failure to the charges by the extended deadline — June 21, 2022, the AUI has added one additional year to her ban.

This decision was contained in a document released by the body on Monday.

The document reveals that the 33-year-old athlete ought to have admitted the anti-doping rule violations (under Rule 2.3 and Rule 2.5 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules) and to have accepted the consequences.

“On the basis that the Athlete is deemed to have admitted the anti-doping rule violations under Rule 2.3 ADR and Rule 2.5 ADR and accepted the consequences set out in the Second Charge, the AIU confirms by this decision the following consequences for the anti-doping rule violations: an increase of one (1) year to the period of Ineligibility of five (5) years already imposed upon the Athlete by the Tribunal in the Decision in accordance with Rule 10.4 ADR,” it read in part.

“Disqualification of the Athlete’s results since 13 June 2021, with all resulting Consequences, including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money; and 40.3. disqualification of the results of any relay team in which the Athlete competed since 13 June 2021 in accordance with Rule 11.3.1 ADR.”

It would be recalled that Okagbare was provisionally suspended before the 100 metres semi-finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year, over doping allegations.

Though she pleaded guilty to the charges, the Nigerian bagged a five-year ban for returning doping tests positive for EPO as well as Human Growth Hormone. She was then handed an additional five-year ban for refusing to cooperate with an AIU investigation.

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