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Sports News of Saturday, 3 September 2022


Doping: Nigeria at risk of losing Commonwealth Games gold medal

Nigeria's relay quartet Nigeria's relay quartet

There are strong indications that Nigeria may be stripped of one of the gold medals won at the recently held Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

PREMIUM TIMES findings indicate that the gold medal won in the 4x100m Women’s event is now under threat after the failed dope test of one of the athletes in the winning quartet of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rose Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha.

The quartet had set a new African Record of 42.10s to win what was Nigeria’s 11th gold medal in Birmingham and it was a historic moment for the country at the Games.

However, with the latest developments, the fanfare and excitement that came with that gold medal and the African record will amount to nothing owing to the doping rules.

The doping rule nullifies any performance in its entirety, even if just a member of the team is guilty of the doping infraction.

The fact that it is only the relay gold that Nigeria risks losing suggests the culprit is not Tobi Amusan who also won the 100m Women’s hurdles gold.

Though the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN is yet to make a public statement on the identity of the erring athlete, an official in the AFN board confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES how devastated they are by the sad turn of events.

“I cannot talk to you yet on the issue. Just wait for the official statement that would be released, but this is very sad. Just when we thought we were making some headway, this has really brought us back,” the AFN official told PREMIUM TIMES.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, the body in charge of global doping cases, is also yet to make a public statement on the matter since the result of the ‘B’ sample, which is often the same as ‘A’ is still being awaited.

Incidentally, the AIU in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games had praised Nigeria for its improved effort at combating doping.

Unlike the Tokyo Olympics, where Nigeria had 10 of its athletes barred from competing for failing to do the required number of out-of-competition tests, the case was different in Oregon at the World Championship where Nigeria had a clean bill of health.

“While Nigeria did a paltry 26 tests in 2021, it has already conducted 157 this term, and the quantum improvement has been hailed even though it is admitted that even more can still be done to totally get rid of cheats in the sports.

“It is accepted now in our sport that National Federations must play their part in supporting anti-doping efforts,” David Howman, Chair of the AIU Board said in a statement issued about two weeks before the commencement of the Commonwealth Games.

If Nigeria ends up losing the relay medal, the outing in Birmingham will no longer be the country’s best-ever at the Commonwealth Games as widely celebrated.