Nigeria: Okagbare’s Ban – Ajunwa Advises On Ways to Stem Doping

Ajunwa has set up a foundation campaigning against doping.

Nigeria’s first female gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, has called on athletes to stop cutting corners, but rather face the reality of intense competition for world titles.

Ajunwa-Opara gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

She was speaking on the heels of the recent 10-year ban of Nigeria’s queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare, by World Athletics.

NAN reports that the Athletics Integrity Unit handed a 10-year ban for doping violations by Nigeria’s 2008 long jump silver medallist, Blessing Okagbare.

Okagbare was initially expelled from the women’s 100m semi-finals after testing positive for human growth hormone at an out-of-competition test in Slovakia on July 19, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ajunwa-Opara, the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event, who had suffered a similar fate, urged for more sensitisation and support from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

“The ban will definitely affect her career, maybe her career in athletics is over. I believe AFN can give her the support she needs.

“For Okagbare, who lives in the U.S., she should not be caught in this web, because it is believed that she has all the information she needed, and is more exposed.

“Okagbare should have a better knowledge than those living in Nigeria; besides this, we have something to do here at home and not pass the whole blame,” she said.