Tokyo 2020: Sports Ministry regrets athletes’ disqualification

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The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has expressed regret at the unfortunate disqualification of 10 Nigerian Track and Field athletes at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Ten athletes were disqualified from participating in the ongoing Track and Field events which begins on Friday.

The Ministry in a press statement signed by Nebelosa Anako, Permanent Secretary and Chef de Mission 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 WADA sample collection and analysis standards.

The statement reads as follows;

“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.

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“However, other 12 top Track and Field athletes have been cleared to compete 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.

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“The Ministry notes and commends the decision of the AFN to appoint Prof. Ken Anugweje as Head of its Medical and Anti-doping Commission.”

Blessing Okagbare, Divine Oduduru, Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume were not affected.

Meanwhile, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Tonobok Okowa said the federation has put in place appropriate measures to comply with Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules of World Athletics.

“It must be noted that no Nigerian athlete tested positive to prohibited substances.

“Also to note is that 12 top Nigerian athletes have been cleared and are eligible for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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“The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred in the past and reassures Nigerians that our performances will not be negatively impacted.

“We have taken proactive steps to avoid future occurrences by appointing Professor Ken Anugweje as the head of the Medical and Anti- Doping Commission of the Federation,” Okowa stated.

This is coming on the heel of the disqualification of ten Nigeria athletes at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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