Okagbare Escapes Criminal Prosecution In The USA Vs Eric Lira Case
Nigeria’s queen of the track Blessing Okagbare is not liable to prosecution in the ongoing case involving the United States of America and Eric Lira.
Lira has been accused of providing banned performance enhancing substances to athletes with a view to cheating at big international competitions.
The Mexican-American is being tried under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act which gives USA officials the power to prosecute individuals for doping schemes at international sports competitions involving American athletes.
Okagbare is widely believed to be one of Lira’s clients as text messages exhanged between her and Lira clearly showed it was the 33 year old Nigerian that has been mentioned in court papers filed in a US Court.
While Lira is liable to prosecution, the law says individual athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs would not be subject to criminal prosecution.
Meanwhile the 2014 Commonwealth Games double sprint queen may lose the personal bests she set indoors in the 60m and 200m events as well as the 53.21s she ran in 400m at the Ansin Sports Complex, Miramar in Florida, USA in March 2021.
Court papers in the USA Vs Lira case revealed that the former African 100m and 200m record holder has been one of Lira’s clients since November 2020 and may be stripped of the PBs and all other performances achieved within the priod in question if she is found guilty of the doping charges against her by the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU.
Ryan Serkes, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in court papers he deposed to that Okagbare, referred to as Athlete 1 ”on or about November 17, 2020, requested that Lira provide her with 4 vials or doses of “honey” (which, based on the timing and content of the communication, as well as on the drugs later found at the Residence, I understand to be a reference to human growth hormone) and 2 vials or doses of “epo,” that is, erythropoietin.”
Serkes also deposed that on or about November 18, 2020, Athlete-1 and Lira corresponded regarding TB-500, IGF, and gonadotropin (a peptide hormone on the Prohibited List).
”Athlete-1 asked Lira what quantity of these drugs she would need for both herself and Athlete-2 (believed to be a Nigerian male sprinter),” Serkes wrote.
”On or about April 13, 2021, LIRA wrote to the Athlete-1 Phone, “I will send you the 2 honeys an[d] 4 bac water.” I understand that “bac water” refers to bacteriostatic water, a sterile solution used to dilute or dissolve injectable medications,’ wrote Serkes in the court papers.
Serkes also deposed that ‘On or about April 14, 2021, in the course of a conversation about drugs provided to Athlete-1 by LIRA, Athlete-1 wrote, “This one is giving me a hard time to use too.
”. . I have mixed it but it’s not setting right like the Genotropin.4 I don’t want to waste it.” In reply, LIRA wrote, “[Athlete-1]. . . let’s do video call in a few minutes.”
Okagbare raced to a new 7.10s personal best in the 60m at the Randal Tyson Indoor Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA last year February.
That catapaulted her to number seven in the Nigerian all-time list.
The same day and at the same venue she moved within one hundreth of a second of the Nigerian 200m indoor record held at the time by Reginna George when she scorched to a 23.01s finish.