Tokyo Olympics: 10 Nigerians To Be Sent Home After Failing Drug Test
Ten Nigerian athletes were among 18 competitors from “high-risk” nations who have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics after failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing, World Athletics’ independent anti-doping arm said Thursday.
The Athletics Integrity Unit said the athletes concerned had failed to comply with rules introduced in 2019 requiring those from countries deemed to be at highest risk of doping — so-called “Category A” nations — to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10-month period leading up to a major event.
The AIU said that two athletes from Kenya were replaced by the national federation prior to being submitted for entry.
Other countries with athletes barred from the games included Belarus (three athletes), Ethiopia (one), Kenya (two), Morocco (one) and Ukraine (three).
Nigeria was by far the hardest-hit nation, with 10 of 23 entries for Tokyo declared ineligible.
A source familiar with the case said the 10 Nigerian athletes did not include star sprinter and medal hope Blessing Okagbare.
It was not immediately clear if the athletes affected by the AIU ruling had already arrived in Japan.
AIU board chairman David Howman said while those nations placed in Category A had made “significant improvements” with anti-doping efforts, “there remains a long way to go in some circumstances”.
“The eligibility rules for athletes from ‘Category A’ countries are very clear and compliance is essential for cementing the required long-term changes and ensuring a level playing field for clean athletes,” Howman said.
IOC Backtrack, Returns Samsung Phones To Nigerian Athletes
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved the request of Team Nigeria for her 10 athletes who were declared ineligible to partake in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics have their Samsung Galaxy S21 5G given to all athletes who are resident at the Olympic Village return to them.
The letter of approval was signed by Jonas Brun, Junior Project Manager, NOC Relations/ NOC Services.
“Regarding your athletes that will not participate in competitions in Tokyo in light of the latest information received, I confirm that you can still go ahead and give phones to the athletes,” the letter reads.
The phones which were delivered to all NOCs at the Games Village were in order for them to benefit from all important information included in the ‘Athlete365website’ and also to comply with requirements set forth in the Play books, in particular download and use of the apps required by the Japanese authorities.
The Nigeria Olympic Committee like all other NOCs had received the phones on behalf of their athletes but could not extend such gestures to the ineligible athletes as they tried to abide by the rules. The approval by the IOC to extend the Samsung phones gifts to the ineligible athletes had since been complied by the NOC.
Samsung has provided mobile phones at the Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. This year it is providing the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G. It is teaming up with Japanese carrier, NTT Docomo, to ensure that the athletes at the games are able to download apps that are necessary for the games.
However, this has often led to controversy because some athletes and officials at the games are unable to get the phones. Iranian and North Korean athletes could not receive the special Olympic edition Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that was given to athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in China because of UN sanctions.
The rules also say that athletes that are disqualified from the games would not receive the phones (that is the cause of the recent crisis over the Nigerian athletes that were excluded from the games due to issues around drug testing).