Press releases 7th October 2021

Athletics Integrity Unit issues charges against Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare in relation to three disciplinary matters

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has issued charges against Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare in relation to three separate disciplinary matters. The athlete has been charged with the presence and use of a prohibited substance following the detection of Human Growth Hormone in a sample collected out-of-competition on 19th July in Slovakia and reported to the AIU on 30th July. This matter was publicly announced on 31st July when Ms Okagbare was provisionally suspended. She had been scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the Toko 2020 women’s 100m that day.

The athlete has also been charged with the presence and use of a prohibited substance following the detection of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) in a sample collected out-of-competition on 20th June in Nigeria. The AIU requested EPO analysis be conducted on the sample on 29th July and the adverse analytical finding was reported to the AIU on 12th August. Ms Okagbare was notified of the adverse analytical finding on 20th August.

Human Growth Hormone and EPO are non-specified substances on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. A provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such a substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules and the athlete remains provisionally suspended.

Finally, the AIU has issued a further charge against Ms Okagbare in accordance with Rule 12 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules following the athlete’s refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case. Specifically, it is alleged that the athlete failed to comply with a formal requirement to produce relevant documents, records and electronic storage devices, which was issued to the athlete by the AIU on 15th September.

The athlete denies all charges and has requested that each of them be submitted to a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal. As the process is ongoing the AIU will make no further comment on the matter at this time.

• This media release was published by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics on 7 October 2021. Click here for the original.

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