The Nigerian Government has ordered all the country’s athletes to be tested for drugs before they depart for the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to start in Birmingham next month, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the scandal at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare announced the directive at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja during a meeting with stakeholders of Nigeria’s team.
Dare warned that Nigeria will not hesitate to drop any athlete who attempts to dope after sprinter Blessing Okagbare was banned from competition for 10 years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for three anti-doping offences which prevented her from taking part in the re-arranged Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We will prefer to come back from the Games without medals rather than being embarrassed a second time, there must be no exceptions,” said Dare, as reported by the Premium Times.
With fewer than two months remaining until Birmingham 2022 is due to open on July 28, Dare revealed that the Ministry is working closely with the Nigerian Olympic Committee to ensure that the delegation’s accommodation, testing, ticketing, and kits are taken care of in good time.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Tonobok Okowa has also spoken of his determination to ensure there is no repeat of previous doping failures.
As well as Okagbare’s offence, the organisation had to apologise during last year’s Olympics as 10 of its athletes were declared ineligible to compete after the AIU ruled that they were not tested rigorously enough in the run-up to the Games.