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Ten Nigerian athletes disqualified from Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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Ten Nigerian athletes have been ruled ineligible to participate at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan, reducing the country’s hope of clinching more medals at the event.

The athletes were said to have failed to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations.

Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) made this known in a statement on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

The ‘Category A’ federations comprises of those that are said to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

The AIU is the body charged with managing all issues of integrity, including doping and non-doping cases.

According to the statement, out of 18 athletes ruled ineligible to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, Nigeria dominate with 10 athletes.

One of the major requirements of Rule 15 is that “an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted not longer than 3 weeks interval apart in the 10 months before a major event.

The statement read in part; “Despite significant improvements in the domestic testing programmes in countries categorised as being the highest doping risk to the sport under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (Anti-Doping Rules), 18 athletes from the final entries for the Tokyo Olympic Games are not eligible to compete because the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules were not met by ‘Category A’ Federations.

“In addition, two athletes from Kenya were replaced by the National Federation prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.

“Nigeria is the most affected country, not meeting the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes.

“Nigeria was included in Category A at the start of 2020 following a continued period of weak domestic testing levels.

“Under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.

“Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.

“For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine. The relevant data for the number of athletes from each federation for whom the testing requirements of Rule 15 were not met is set out in the table below:

“In the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the ‘Category A’ Federations, in partnership with their respective National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), generally made significant progress with respect to their domestic testing programmes.”

 
 
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