Nigerian sprinter Okagbare banned for 10 years by AIU for ‘multiple’ anti-doping breaches

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Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare on Friday was banned for ten years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for “multiple breaches of anti-doping rules”.

“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 cooperate with the AIU’s investigation into her case,” AIU said in a statement.

Okagbare was earlier suspended during the Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test.

The sprinter was a medal contender for the women’s 100m in Tokyo last year and won her heat in 11.05 seconds. But she was ruled out of the semi-finals after the AIU said she had tested positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on 19 July.

In October, Okagbare was charged with three anti-doping offences, which she denied.

Meanwhile, Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, said a 10-year ban was “a strong message against attempts to cheat”.

“We welcome the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal; a 10-year ban is a strong message against intentional and co-ordinated attempts to cheat at the very highest level of our sport. This is an outcome that was driven by our intelligence-led target testing as well as our commitment to investigate the circumstances behind a positive test,” said Clothier.

Okagbare, who won a silver medal in the long jump at the 2008 Olympics and has also won World Championship medals in the 200m and long jump, has 30 days to appeal against the AIU’s disciplinary tribunal’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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