Nigerian Athlete Okagbare Embroiled in Drug Charges
Blessing Okagbare–Otegheri, 33, was Nigeria’s hope for a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games but was suspended for testing positive in a drugs test taken in Slovenia in July 2021 in which the presence of Human Growth Hormone was found. Nigeria’s Minister of Sport Sunday Dare described the findings as “unfortunate”.
Okagbare-Otegheri has been Nigeria’s star track and field athlete. She holds the Olympic and World Championship records for long jump, and is a world medalist in the 200 meters. She also holds the Women’s 100 meters Commonwealth Games record for the fastest time at 10.85 seconds.
Just two days before her suspension, Okagbare-Otegheri criticised the Nigerian sports administrators for the handling of the July 31, 2021 disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes for their failure to meet for the mandatory three out-of-competition tests. The athletes took to the streets of Tokyo at the time, to protest their banning.
“Blessing Okagbare remains one of our best athletes who has served Nigeria well. We empathise with her. Nigeria will monitor closely developments around her temporary suspension and appeal,” Dare said at the time.
In October 2021 the Athletics Integrity Unit issued more charges against Okagbare-Otegheri in relation to three separate disciplinary matters.
The U.S. Department of Justice has revealed that a man linked with Okagbare-Otegheri has been charged in a U.S. court for allegedly providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, including Nigeria’s celebrated queen of the tracks.