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10 Nigerian athletes banned from Olympics

  • Team may miss relay events

A huge scandal rocked Team Nigeria’s camp on Wednesday at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when 10 Nigerian athletes were disqualified from competing in the event after they failed to undergo mandatory tests ahead of the global sports event.

Our correspondents learnt the Nigerian camp was thrown into a mourning mood after word went round that the affected athletes, who compete in track and field events, had been sent packing from the Games with just two days to the start of their events.

The Athletics Integrity Unit in a statement on Wednesday made available to correspondent, did not mention the names of the affected Nigerian athletes, but said a total of 20 athletes across the world were disqualified from the Olympics for not meeting minimum requirements by Category A countries.

However, findings by our correspondent showed that the only Nigerian track and field athletes eligible to compete in Tokyo were Enoch Adegoke, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Patience Okon- George, Usheoritse Itsekiri, Samson Nathaniel, Grace Nwokocha, Divine Oduduru, Emmanuel Ojeli, Blessing Okagbare and Nse Uko, as their names were listed on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics portal.

The names of the other track and field athletes for the event namely Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke were omitted by the International Olympic Committee, meaning they were the athletes banned from competing at the Games.

Other countries, who had some of their athletes disqualified, are Belarus and Ukraine, who both had three athletes banned, Kenya (two) and Morocco and Ethiopia, who had one athlete each sent packing from the Games.\

“Despite significant improvements in the domestic testing programmes in countries categorised as being the highest doping risk to the sport under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (Anti-Doping Rules), 18 athletes from the final entries for the Tokyo Olympic Games are not eligible to compete because the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules were not met by ‘Category A’ Federations,” the AIU stated.

“In addition, two athletes from Kenya were replaced by the National Federation prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.

“Nigeria is the most affected country not meeting the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes.

“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.

“Nigeria was included in Category A at the start of 2020 following a continued period of weak domestic testing levels.”

Our correspondents gathered that it was all moody at the camp after the news broke with those affected wailing at how their Olympic dreams suddenly came down crashing.

“It has not been easy for those affected by the disqualification,” an athlete in Tokyo, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, said.

“Everybody had withdrawn back to their rooms now and are all sad. I just hope those who are eligible to compete will be able to shrug off the disappointment suffered by those affected. Some have already lost hope.”

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