The disciplinary tribunal of Athletics Integrity Unit(AIU) on Friday says it has banned Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare for ten years for doping
Nigeria’s 2008 long jump silver medalist, was expelled from the Tokyo Olympics last year before the women’s 100m semi-finals after testing positive for human growth hormone at an out-of-competition test in Slovakia on July 19.
According to a statement issued by AIU, the 33-year-old sprinter got a five-year ban for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and another half-a-decade for her refusal to cooperate with the body’s investigation of her case.
“The Disciplinary Tribunal has banned Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare for a total of 10 years, five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case,” the statement read.
“The sole arbitrator adjudicating the case concluded that the athlete’s use of multiple prohibited substances as part of an organised doping regimen in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games was egregious conduct that amounted to aggravating circumstances under the Rules thereby warranting an additional period of ineligibility on top of the standard four-year sanction.
“The sole arbitrator also recognised the AIU’s right to carry out investigations, including the imaging of electronic devices, and to impose sanctions when an athlete refuses to co-operate with an investigation and thereby frustrates the AIU’s ability to fulfil its mandate to protect the integrity of the sport of athletics.
“In this instance, the sole arbitrator concluded that the athlete’s refusal to cooperate had denied the AIU the opportunity to discover evidence of possible further rule violations by her as well possible violations of the rules by others, for which he imposed an additional sanction of five years.”
The statement also added that Okagbare has a window of 30 day to appeal against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CaS) within 30 days.