Twenty athletes, including 14 Africans, were excluded from the track and field events of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, 36 hours before their start. Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and especially Nigeria (10 ineligible representatives) did not fully respect the rules on doping controls, assured the Athletics Integrity Unit.
Twenty athletes saw their dreams of the Olympic Games shattered almost at the last minute on July 29, 2021. Almost 36 hours before the start of the Tokyo 2021 athletics events, the sport’s Integrity Unit (IAU) has indicated that seven countries did not meet the requirements for doping controls. Result: representatives from Belarus (3), Ethiopia (1), Kenya (2), Morocco (1), Ukraine (3) and especially Nigeria (10) were excluded.
“Nigeria is the most impacted country, not having met the test criteria (anti-doping) of rule 15 (of the International Athletics Federation, Editor’s note) for 10 athletes”, indicates the IAU. In fact, these athletes have not undergone the 3 unannounced doping controls, carried out out of competition and during the last ten months, required by World Athletics.
Concerned athletes appalled
Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria are on a list of countries under surveillance in the fight against doping. However, the decision of the IAU goes badly with the excluded athletes, less than two days before the kickoff of athletics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
The African discus throwing champion Chioma Onyekwere, first concerned, challenged World Athletics and the IAU on Tweeter: “The athletes are not at fault in this matter. Please, we need your help on how we can clear this so that the ten of us can compete. “
Despite the rather cruel timing, the anger of the Nigerian athletes seems to be aimed more at their leaders. Nigerian athletics superstar Blessing Okagbare, who does not appear to be affected by the move, cracked a furious tweet on the subject: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t know the sport, if you are not passionate about it / us (the athletes), then you have nothing to do there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the mercy of the damage. “
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