The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has issued more charges against Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare in relation to three separate disciplinary matters.
Before now, there had been no new updates from the AIU since placing a provisional suspension on the 32-year old athlete for supposed doping infractions.
Okagbare on the eve of the Women’s 100m semi-final race in Tokyo was 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 19 July in Slovakia and reported to the AIU on 30 July .
The matter was publicly announced on 31 July when Okagbare was provisionally suspended.
However, in a statement issued on Thursday, the AIU revealed that fresh doping infractions supposedly committed by Okagbare have been detected.
The AIU wrote: “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.
The AIU added it has issued a further charge against 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.
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“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.”
Okagbare has denied all charges brought against her and has requested that each of them be submitted to a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal.
While the AIU is investigating Okagbare on one hand, it is also understood that an American agency is also investigating the Nigerian sprinter for some other misdemeanours.