Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Nigerian star Blessing Okagbare with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

The news came 24 hours after Okagbare opened her Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games quest to win the sprint double on Friday in Japan.

She was slated to run in the first heat of the semifinals, but her name was removed from the starting list.

READ MORE: Tokyo 2020: Thompson-Herah vs Asher-Smith, Ta Lou vs Jackson in women’s 100m semifinals

“Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and a provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules,” a release read.

“The AIU collected the sample from Ms. Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on 19 July. The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day Central European Time yesterday, Friday 30 July. 

“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo. She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m this evening. 

“The AIU will make no further comment on this matter at this time.”

Okagbare comfortable won her heat of the women’s 100m on Friday and was set to take on the likes Elaine Thompson-Herah, Dina Asher-Smith of new Swiss record holder Ajla Del Ponte, as well as American Jenna Prandini.

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