Africa Sports News Sat, 31 Jul 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Nigerian federation 'bear responsibility' for ineligible athletes

Di Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) don take responsibility after 10 athletes from di kontri bin dey declared ineligible for di Tokyo Olympics.

Di Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) bin rule say di competitors no go dey able to take part for Tokyo because dem no comply with out-of-competition drug testing requirements ahead of di Games.

Di AIU announce say a total of 20 athletes from di seven kontris, wey include Morocco, Kenya and Ethiopia, regard as high risk (category A) wen e come to doping don dey ruled out, half of those wey dey excluded na Nigerians.

Di AIU tok say: "Nigeria na di most affected kontri, dem no meet di minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes. Nigeria dey included for Category A for di start of 2020 following continued period of weak domestic testing levels."

Major blow

Athletics account for 13 of di 25 medals wey Nigeria don win for all Olympic games, including two of di three gold medals, dis latest incident don cause serious outcry for di kontri.

Officials of di AFN and sports ministry don come under intense criticism from some of di affected athletes, local media and fans wey no dey happy because dem bin don dey look forward to di track and field competition for Tokyo 2020 wey suppose start on Friday.

But di AFN don try to calm di storm as dem take responsibility for di failings and put in place 'appropriate measures to comply wit Rule 15 of di Anti-Doping Rules of World Athletics'.

"Di AFN bear responsibility for any lapses wey fit don happun during di process and reassure Nigerians that our performances no go dey negatively impacted," di AFN tok for statement.

"All our athletes wey dey stay for Nigeria and wey qualify for di Olympic Games complete di three mandatory tests.

"Most of our top athletes wey dey stay USA also complete dia tests. However, a few athletes for di American collegiate system bin undergo test, but dem say those tests bin no follow WADA sample collection and analysis standards.

"We need note say no Nigerian athlete test positive to prohibited substances.

"Di AFN don take proactive steps to avoid make dis kind tin happun again in di future as we don appoint Professor Ken Anugweje as head of di Medical and Anti- Doping Commission of di Federation."

But 2008 Olympic long jump silver medalist, Blessing Okagbare, wey dey eligible for di 100 and 200 metres for Tokyo don shade di officials for dis latest setback.

She don take to social media to express her disappointment: "Di sport system in Nigeria get as e be and we athletes, dey always dey di receiving end of di damages.

"Dem bin dey busy dey fight over power, exercising their pride over puma contract/ kits as dem forget their major responsibility "THE ATHLETES". E dey sad say dis cycle dey repeat its self and some pipo go come out to say I dey arrogant for speaking my truth. Na my career."

Other athletes wey dey cleared to participate for Tokyo include, Ese Brume, wey win bronze medal for women's long jump for 2019 World Championships for Doha, Tobiloba Amusan wey dey ranked number four for di 100m hurdles and fast rising sprinter Divine Oduduru.

One of di affected athlete na US-based Ruth Usoro, wey win di NCAA championship for di women's triple jump both indoor and outdoor for 2021.

Usoro make di team Nigeria squad, but she and Rosemary Chukwuma, dey among di 10 ineligible athletes to participate because of non-compliance with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.

Chukwuma coach Wes Kittley put di blame firmly on di AFN.

"Di bottom line na say Nigeria federation just drop di ball and no test those kids," im tok.

"Na terrible thing if dem no get to compete because di Nigerian federation no ever send anyone to test dem. Which go dey be unfortunate. My goodness."

Source: www.bbc.com