Nigeria’s medal hope at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games, Blessing Okagbare, has blamed the officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN for the ban of 10 athletes from the athletics event which begins today in Tokyo.
The athletes were banned because of the of non-compliance with out-of-competition drug testing requirements in the run up to the Games by AFN.
The Athletics Integrity Unit AIU ruled that the competitors will be unable to take part in Tokyo because of non-compliance.
Okagbare who is eligible for the 100m and 200m in Tokyo in a social media message said the ban on Nigerian athletes was as a result of the infighting in AFN She posted on social media: “The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed 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 itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my career.”
One of the affected athlete’s Rose Chukwuma’s coach Wes Kittley put the blame firmly on the AFN.
“The bottom line is the Nigeria federation just dropped the ball and didn’t test those kids,” he said.
“It’s just a terrible thing if they don’t get to compete because the Nigerian federation never sent anyone to test them.
Which will be unfortunate. My goodness.” Another athlete affected by the AIU ruling told the BBC that things could have been different if officials had moved faster.
“I feel drained and upset – travelling here only to be told you can’t compete. I am based in the United States and you know the NCAA don’t carry out these testings,” said the athlete who preferred to remain anonymous when speaking to BBC Sport Africa. 29 “ T h e y [the AFN] should have followed things up as soon as we made the team to Tokyo and maybe things could’ve been different.
Now all my hopes and dreams are shattered by incompetent officials.”