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Women in Sport

31st Jul 2021

Failed drugs test rules Okagbare out of what should be the race of the games

Simon Lloyd

The 2020 Olympics have suffered their first major doping case

Blessing Okagbare is out of the Tokyo Olympics after failing a drugs test.

The Nigerian sprinter, a silver medalist in the long jump at the Beijing Games in 2008, had been tipped as a major contender for 100m gold after winning her heat on Friday.

She had been due to race in the semi-final on Saturday but a statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) confirmed the 32-year-old had returned a positive test for human growth hormone after an out-of-competition test two weeks ago.

The sample was taken from Okagbare on July 19 but the laboratory that analysed it only informed the AIU of the result following her win on Friday. She was notified of her provisional suspension soon after. Yet, the race will still go to the blocks with the potential of being one of the most exciting of the games’, with the great Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce aiming to regain her crown from fellow Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah. Great Britain’s Dina Asher Smith will also be there or thereabouts, as will Marie-Josee Ta Lou when the gun goes at 1.50 Irish time. It’s not to be missed.

The new of Okagbare’s suspension comes days after 10 other athletes from Nigeria were declared ineligible for the Tokyo Olympics because of non-compliance with out-of-competition drug testing requirements before the start of the Games.

Okagbare’s suspension comes weeks after US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Olympics after she tested positive for having cannabis in her system before the Games.