The Athletics Federation of Nigeria has taken responsibility for the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic games.
This is as the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has kept mute over sanctioning of officials responsible for the “lapses”.
During the championships, Okagbare and Oduduru faced disqualification scare for not partaking in the men’s and women’s 100m race.
Also, neither the sports ministry nor AFN apologised to the 10 affected Nigerian athletes in the three separate press releases issued on the development so far.
Instead, the federal sports ministry tagged the affected Nigerian athletes as “alternate and foreign students”.
While two were issued by the factional president and Secretary-General, Tonobok Okowa and Adisa Beyioku, respectively, the last was made available by Joshua-Akanji, Special Adviser (Media) to the sports minister, Sunday Dare, who many fans want to be sacked over the administrative lapses.
Dare had in November 2020 sacked a former Technical Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Sunday Adeleye, for registering two Nigerian top athletes, Blessing Okagbare and Divine Oduduru, under “wrong” categories at the World Athletics Championships, held in Doha.
In a statement, the factional AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, assured that the development would not affect the performance of other athletes who were cleared.
The PUNCH had reported that the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics has cleared 12 Nigerian athletes to compete in the track and field events of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This comes after jumper Ruth Usoro, sprinter Favour Ofili and eight other Nigerian athletes were on Wednesday disqualified from the track and field events of the Olympics.
They were disqualified from competing in the track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics following their failure to meet up the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules.
Okowa said, “AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our athletes’ performances will not be negatively impacted.
“The president has taken proactive steps to avoid future occurrences by appointing Prof. Ken Anugweje as the head of the Medical and Anti- Doping Commission of the Federation.
“He has also put in place appropriate measures to comply with Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules of World Athletics.”
The statement from the sports ministry was signed by Permanent Secretary and Chef de Mission Team Nigeria, Nebelosa Anako.
The statement read, “The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development regrets the unfortunate development of 10 Nigerian Track and Field athletes not meeting the testing conditions of the Athletics Integrity Unit.
“However, other 12 top Track and Field athletes have been cleared to compete in the Games. All necessary efforts were made to bring the athletes to date with compliance to the WADA regulations by the Ministry.
“The 10 athletes are principally alternate and foreign students athletes, whose tests did not meet with WADA sample collection and analysis standards.
“The situation is being managed by the Ministry and the AFN which have requested all athletes in the Games Village to remain focused on doing our motherland proud.
- It’s worthy to note that the 10 athletes did not test positive for any banned substance, but rather did not meet up with the last of the 3 out-of-competition tests due to the aforementioned reason.
“The Ministry notes and commends the decision of the AFN to appoint Prof. Ken Anugweje as Head of its Medical and Anti-doping Commission.”