– Brown Ebewele wants culprits punished
-As Sports Ministry takes responsibility
BEIJING 2008 Olympic long jump silver medalist, Blessing Okagbare, who is eligible for the 100m and 200m track and field events at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics has blamed the Sports Ministry and the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN, for the ban on 10 Nigerian Athletes. The 10 Nigerian athletes were on Wednesday disqualified from competing in the track and field events because of non-compliance of Out of Competition testing by the Athletics Integrity Unit. Reacting to the sad news, Okagbare criticized the Sports Federation and accused them of neglecting the athletes when it matters most. “I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, are not passionate about it/ Us (the athletes), then you have no business there as an administrator.
The sport system in Nigeria is so flaw and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages.” She posted on social media: “The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes, are always at the receiving end of the damages. “They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over puma contract/ kits forgetting their major responsibility “THE ATHLETES”. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my career.” The Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, which runs the anti-doping program for the sport, said the athletes failed to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations. One of the affected athletes is Championship in the women’s triple jump both indoor and outdoor in 2021. Usoro made the Nigeria squad, but she and Rosemary Chukwuma are among the 10 ineligible to participate because of non-compliance with out-of-competition drug testing requirements. One of the athletes who was disqualified, Rosemary Chukwuma’s coach Wes Kittley put the blame firmly on the AFN. “It’s just a terrible thing if they don’t get to compete because the Nigerian federation never sent anyone to test them. Which will be unfortunate? My goodness.” US-based Ruth Usoro, who won the NCAA is another athlete affected by the AIU ruling told the BBC things could have been different if officials had moved faster.
“I feel drained and upset – travelling here only to be told you can’t compete. I am based in the United States and you know the NCAA don’t carry out these testings,” said the athlete who preferred to remain anonymous when speaking to BBC Sport Africa. Meanwhile, Veteran Athletics coach Brown Ebewele has called on the Sports Ministry to deal with the consequences of the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes by the Athletics Integrity Unit which meant only 13 of the 23 names registered are eligible to compete at the Tokyo Olympics Athletics events which will starts on Friday. Ebewele said that the whole process was midwife by the ministry even when he was in charge of the training of the athletes before the training tour of the USA until he was asked to step down for raising certain questions. He added that whatever befalls Nigeria should be one the ministry can deal with notwithstanding the unfortunate nature of the development, However, the Ministry of Sports said it regretted the unfortunate disqualification of 10 Nigerian Track and Field athletes. The Ministry in a press statement signed by Nebelosa Anako, Permanent Secretary and Chef de Mission of Team Nigeria said that other athletes have been cleared to participate. The statement added that those disqualified athletes are principally alternate and foreign students athletes, whose tests did not meet with WADA sample collection and analysis standards. “The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development regrets the unfortunate development of 10 Nigerian Track and Field athletes not meeting the testing conditions of the Athletics Integrity Unit. “However, other 12 top Track and Field athletes have been cleared to complete in the Games.
“All necessary efforts were made to bring the athletes to date with compliance to the WADA regulations by the Ministry. “The 10 athletes are principally alternate and foreign students athletes, whose tests did not meet with WADA sample collection and analysis standards. “The situation is being managed by the Ministry and the AFN which have requested all athletes in the Games Village to remain focused on doing our motherland proud. “It’s worthy to note that the 10 athletes did not test positive for any banned substance, but rather did not meet up with the last of the 3 out-of-competition tests due to the aforementioned reason. The 12 athletes cleared by the integrity unit of World Athletics has are Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Tobi Amusan, Divine Oduduru, Nwokocha Grace, Patience Okon George, Enoch Adegoke,Imaobong Nse Uko, Itsekiri Usheoritee, Enekwechi Chuckwuebuka, Emmanuel Ojeli and Samson Nathaniel. While two of the disqualified 10 are NCAA champion Ruth Usoro and Tech signee Rosemary Chukwuma from South Plains College, United State.
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