Blessing Okagbare, a top Nigerian athlete, was “provisionally” suspended for doping on Saturday.
According to a press release from the Athletics Integrity Unit, the 32-year-old Nigerian athlete tested positive for a banned drug called human growth hormone.
Okagbare tested positive for the forbidden chemical in an out-of-competition test on July 19, four days before the Olympics began, according to the anti-doping organization.
After Okagbare, who won her heat in 11.05 seconds, qualified for the semifinals of the women’s 100m race at the Olympics, the results of that test were only received late Friday by track and field’s anti-doping organization.
Okagbare will no longer be able to compete as a result of the suspension.
The statement is as follows:
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria today with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human Growth Hormone.
“Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and a provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.
“The AIU collected the sample from Ms. Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on 19 July. The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time yesterday, Friday 30 July.
“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo. She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m this evening.
“The AIU will make no further comment on this matter at this time.”
Okagbare is one of Nigeria’s best hopes for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and the country is still looking for one eight days into the competition.
Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha were expected to face a difficult battle in reaching the women’s 100m final on Saturday at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.