NIGERIA’S sprint queen Blessing Okagbare has hit out at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) over its negligence after 10 of the country’s track and field athletes were balled from participating in the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet international doping guidelines.
Yesterday, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which runs the anti-doping programme at the Olympics banned 10 Nigerians from partaking in the Tokyo games. It said the athletes failed to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for Category A federations.
These 10 athletes were named as Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere, Annette Echikunwoke, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi and Tima Godbless. Track and field events are due to start at the Olympics tomorrow with the ban, the pressure now mounts on Okagbare to deliver for Nigeria.
Reacting to the ban, Okagbare said that the AFN were busy fighting for power to the extent that they forgot their major responsibility. She added that athletes are always at the receiving end of the damage because the sport system in Nigeria is flawed.
Okagbare said: ”I have said it before and I will say it again, if you do not know the sport, not passionate about it/us, then you have no business there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damage.
“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contracts/ kits forgetting their major responsibility the athletes. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth but it is my career.”
Team Nigeria is yet to win any medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. Nigeria last had a decent Olympic outing at Atlanta 96 when the country won two gold medals but since then, poor organisation has cost the nation dear.