Former African 100/200m record holder Blessing Okagbare says her lawyers are studying the Athletics Integrity Unit’s disciplinary tribunal’s decision to slam her a 10 year ban for multiple breaches of the Anti-Doping Rules.
The AIU on Friday through its disciplinary tribunal banned Okagbare five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case.
”My attention has been drawn to the statement issued by the AIU regarding its disciplinary panel decision. My lawyers are currently studying it for our next line of action which we will inform you soon,’ Okagbare tweeted after the ban was announced.
The 33 year old has just one month to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The African, Commonwealth, World and Olympic medallist told the AIU and its disciplinary tribunal she has never used any prohibited substances in her storied career and will probably appeal the 10 year ban.
On 30 July 2021, the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland reported the presence of human growth hormone hGH10 in her Second Sample and the Nigerian was promptly notified.
The same day, Okagbare provided her explanation for the hGH AAF.
In summary, her explanation was that she had never used any Prohibited Substances and asserted that the following might explain the hGH AAF:
Treatment for fever over three days including an injection and pills; Changes in menstrual cycle including severe bleeding; Thyroid medication;Use of a prenatal vitamin; Use of supplements; and/or Consumption of contaminated food.
Following her request, the B Sample was analysed by the Lausanne Laboratory in the presence of the Athlete’s appointed representatives on 11 August 2021.
The analysis of the B Sample for the Second Sample confirmed the hGH AAF.
On 12 August 2021, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany reported the presence of recombinant erythropoietin EPO14 in her first Sample.
Okagbare was notified thereof on 20 August 2021.
On 27 August 2021, the former African 100/200m record holder provided her explanation for the EPO AAF. She denied taking EPO and said:
“[…] This is the second [AAF] reporting substances I have no explanation how there [sic] were found in my sample, as I have not taken anything relating to this substance.”