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10 year Ban: Okagbare insists she is innocent

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Nigeria’s sprint star Blessing Okagbare has re-echoed her denial of the fact that she never used any probibited substance to enhance her performance. Okagbare who was denied the opportunity to showcase her skills at the last Olympic in Japan had her troubles multiplied with a 10 year ban by Disciplinary Tribunal for anti-doping offence on one hand and failure to cooperate with Athletics Intergrity Investigation body on the other.

Five of the 10 years are for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and while the remaining five years are for her refusal to co-operate with the Athletics Integrity’s investigation into her case

Okagbare however insisted during the disciplinary tribunal hearing that she has never taken any prohibited substance in her life.

On 30 July 2021, the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland reported the presence of human growth hormone hGH10 in her Second Sample and the Nigerian was promptly notified.

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The same day, Okagbare provided her explanation for the hGH AAF.

In summary, her explanation was that she had never used any Prohibited Substances and asserted that the following might explain the hGH AAF:

Treatment for fever over three days including an injection and pills; Changes in menstrual cycle including severe bleeding; Thyroid medication;Use of a prenatal vitamin; Use of supplements; and/or Consumption of contaminated food.

Following her request, the B Sample was analysed by the Lausanne Laboratory in the presence of the Athlete’s appointed representatives on 11 August 2021.

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The analysis of the B Sample for the Second Sample confirmed the hGH AAF.

On 12 August 2021, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany reported the presence of recombinant erythropoietin EPO14 in her first Sample.

On 27 August 2021, the former African 100/200m record holder provided her explanation for the EPO AAF. She denied taking EPO and said: “This is the second [AAF] reporting substances I have no explanation how there [sic] were found in my sample, as I have not taken anything relating to this substance.”

The Nigrian is however not crossing her fingers as she has reportedly consulted her lawyers to follow up within the period allowed for appeal.

 

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