Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, has been banned for a total of 10 years for multiple breaches of anti-doping rules, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Friday.
Okagbare, who has an Olympic silver medal in the long jump from the 2008 Beijing Games, was provisionally suspended before the 100 metres semi-finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year.
An AIU statement said the sole arbitrator adjudicating the case concluded that Okagbare’s “use of multiple prohibited substances” was “part of an organised doping regimen in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.” This “egregious conduct” led to an increase in the normal four-year sanction.
The 33-year-old, who denied all charges, was given 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.
“We welcome the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal. A ban of 10 years is a strong message against intentional and coordinated 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 AIU chief Brett Clothier. Recall that Okagbare was suspended during the Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test.