Nigerian Olympic medalist banned from athletics for 10 years for doping

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Lessing Okagbare was handed a ten-year ban after an investigation into multiple doping violations.

The Nigerian athlete won silver in the long jump at the 2008 Olympics and was provisionally suspended before competing in the 100m semi-finals in Tokyo last summer.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) charged Okagbare in October with his use of human growth hormone and erythropoietin (EPO) and his refusal to cooperate with investigators.

On Friday, the IAU announced that a disciplinary tribunal with a single arbitrator had imposed a ten-year ban – five years for the presence and use of several banned substances and five years for his refusal to cooperate.

The arbitrator found that Okagbare’s refusal to cooperate deprived the AIU of the opportunity to uncover evidence of possible rule violations by others.

Brett Clothier, the head of the AIU, said: “We welcome the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal; a ten-year ban is a strong message against intentional and coordinated attempts to cheat at the highest level of our sport.

“This is a result that was driven by our targeted intelligence-based testing as well as our commitment to investigating the circumstances behind a positive test.”

The arbitrator found Okagbare to be “Athlete 1” mentioned in an FBI complaint against a therapist named Eric Lira. The charges against Lira are the first under new anti-doping laws introduced in the United States.

Friday’s reasoned decision released by the IAU said Victor Burgos, the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s head of investigations, wrote to the IAU in October to confirm that the FBI had taken footage on the phone. Okagbare laptop.

He said the phone ‘contained text messages in which Ms Okagbare discussed obtaining and using human growth hormone and EPO’ with a contact listed as ‘Eric Lira Doctor’.

Burgos added: “The posts also indicate that Ms Okagbare provided, or attempted to provide, banned substances to at least one other person, an athlete preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic track and field trials, scheduled for July 2021. “

Additional reporting by PA Media.


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