Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare received a 10-year ban for being part of an “organized doping regimen” ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the Athletics Integrity Unit said Friday.
The former world championships silver medalist was initially suspended in July just before she was due to run in the semifinals of the 100 meters at the Olympics.
Okagbare tested positive for blood booster EPO in Nigeria in June, in addition to another failed test for human growth hormone in Slovakia in July. A ban of five years was imposed by the AIU for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and the suspension was doubled for her refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
“A ban of 10 year(s) is a strong message against intentional and co-ordinated attempts to cheat at the very highest level of our sport,” AIU head Brett Clothier said. “This is an outcome that was driven by our intelligence-led target testing as well as our commitment to investigate the circumstances behind a positive test.”
Okagbare won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 2008 Olympics. That was later upgraded to a silver medal when a Russian athlete was banned for doping. At the 2013 world championships, she doubled up with long jump silver and 200-meter bronze. Okagbare also won the 100 and the 200 at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.