By Jon Essien
Following the ban of 10 Team Nigeria athletes at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Blessing Okagbare has taken to social media to lambaste the officials of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) while reinstating her stand against irregularity in sports administration.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues – doping and non-doping – revealed on Wednesday that a total of 18 athletes have been declared ineligible – with Nigeria the most affected country.
The Athletes were disqualified from competing in the track and field events at the Olympics after they failed to meet anti-doping testing requirements in the lead-up to the Games.
The anti-doping program, requires athletes from countries categorized as “high risk” because of deficiencies in their testing programs to be given three no-notice, out-of-competition tests in the 10 months leading to a major event.
Each of the seven so-called “Category A” countries had at least one athlete banned from the Games. The countries are Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.
Reacting to the ban, Okagbare wrote on Twitter: “I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, 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.
“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 its self and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my CAREER.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the AFN were at loggerheads over which company would kit the athletes in the build-up to the Tokyo Games.
Meanwhile, Okagbare will take to the tracks when athletes kicks off on Friday, as Team Nigeria is yet to win any medal at the Tokyo Olympics.