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Nigerian gold medalist suspended on doping

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By Mercy Kelani

Ostarine and lingadrol were found in the sample of Grace Nwokocha.

On September 3, 2022, there were likely indications that Nigeria might get stripped of one of the gold medals recently won at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Which took place from July 28 to August 8, 2022, as a result of a failed drug test of one of the athletes. The gold medal that was under threat was won in the 4x100m Women’s event by Grace Nwokocha; other athletes from the winning quartet are Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, and Rose Chukwuma.

The quartet, at the end of the race, were able to set a new African Record of 42.10s to win what was supposed to be Nigeria’s 11th gold medal in Birmingham. However, the results of the tests conducted on athletes by the athletic body, revealed on Saturday night that Ostarine and Lingadrol were discovered in Grace Nwokocha’s urine sample. Resultantly, she has been issued a provisional suspension by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for doping.

The Games involve athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Commonwealth Games, also referred to as the Friendly Games, are a quadrennial international multi-sport event among athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The games are managed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) which is in control of the sporting program and selection of host cities, and the key authority in matters relating to games. The games movement includes International sports Federations (IFs), Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs), and organizing committees for every specific Commonwealth Games.

The 22nd and most recent Commonwealth Games took place in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to August 8, 2022. Birmingham was announced as the host of the 2022 games on December 21, 2017, marking England’s third time of hosting the games. The next Commonwealth Games, however, will be the first ever games recorded in history to be held in a decentralized manner, as the games are scheduled to be hosted across four cities in the Australian state of Victoria from March 17 to March 29, 2026.

Nwokocha has been suspended until a final hearing under WADA rules.

According to the disclosure on the night of September 3, 2022, the anchor leg runner of Nigeria in the 4×100 women’s relay, Nwokocha, will be under provisional suspension until the final conclusion of investigations. Due to the suspension, the athlete will now be exempted from any other competition, pending until when the athletic body takes a final decision at a hearing conducted under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a global body that coordinates and harmonizes anti-doping rules and policies across all sports and countries.

The World Anti-Doping Agency, being a coordinator of anti-doping rules and policies, makes use of the World Anti-Doping Code which is the core document responsible for the harmonization of anti-doping policies, rules and regulations in sport organizations and  public authorities around the world. Currently, about 700 sport organizations have embraced the World Anti-Doping Code. Such organizations include the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Federations (IFs), and all IOC-recognized IFs.

AFN and AIU made no public statement until the result was certain.

Prior to the public affirmation of the failed drug test, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) refused to release a public statement stating the identity of the athlete, although an AFN board official revealed how unhappy they are concerning the sad turn of events. The official advised that the public wait for the release of an official statement, while describing the incident as sad. Similarly, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the body responsible for combating doping in the sports industry, made no public statement until the result was certain.

Related Link

WADA: Website

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