Nigeria’s queen of the tracks, Blessing Okagbare, has been issued with three charges regarding violation of doping regulations by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
The AIU disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
Okagbare was suspended during the Tokyo Olympics in August after her test sample returned positive for human growth hormone during an out-of-competition drug test she did in July.
According to the AIU, it has charged the sprinter following the detection of another banned substance, recombinant erythropoietin (EPO), in another test conducted in June in Nigeria, as well as her alleged refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
The statement read: “The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has issued charges against Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare in relation to three separate disciplinary matters. The athlete has been charged with the presence, and use of a prohibited substance following the detection of Human Growth Hormone in a sample collected out-of-competition on July 19 in Slovakia and reported to the AIU on July 30.
“This matter was publicly announced on July 31 when Ms Okagbare was provisionally suspended. She had been scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the Tokwomen’swomen’s 100m that”day.
“The athlete has also been charged with the presence and use of a prohibited substance following the detection of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) in a sample collected out-of-competition on June 20 in Nigeria. The AIU requested EPO analysis be conducted on the sample on July 29 and the adverse analytical finding was reported to the AIU on Augu”t 12.
“Ms Okagbare was notified of the adverse analytical finding on August 20. Human Growth Hormone and EPO are non-specified substances on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. A provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such a substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, and the athlete remains provisionally suspended.
“Finally, the AIU has issued a further charge against Ms Okagbare in accordance with Rule 12 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules following the athlete’s refusal to co-operate AIU’s investigation into her case. Specifically, it is alleged that the athlete failed to comply with a formal requirement to produce relevant documents, records and electronic storage devices, which was issued to the athlete by the AIU on September 15.”
The AIU stated that Okagbare denied both charges of using two different banned substances and requested that each of them is submitted to a hearing before the disciplinary tribunal.