Followers of athletics in the country at the weekend called the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, and the sports minister, Solomon Dalung to swiftly institute a probe after eight of the country’s elite athletes were banned for anti-doping.
Eight Nigerian athletes-including four gold medallists from last year’s All-Africa Games, have been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after testing positive for illegal substances.
Chinazom Amadi, winner of the women’s long jump gold medal at lthe All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, has been revealed to have failed a test after anabolic steroid metenolone was found to be in her system during the competition.
The winner of the men’s long jump Samson Idiata, meanwhile, was found to have taken the steroid clenbuterol, with both athletes banned for four years.
Another Nigerian gold medallist at the All-Africa Games, weightlifter Elizabeth Onuah, has been given an eight-year suspension after the banned diuretic amiloride was discovered.
It was the under-53 kilogram competitor’s second offence, as she was previously banned from March 2010 to 2012 after testing positive for hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride.
Women’s 55kg freestyle gold medal winning wrestler Patience Opuene and 60kg silver medallist Ebi James Igbadiwe have also been revealed to have failed tests.
The pair, who both tested positive for a banned diuretic, have been handed four-year suspensions.
The medal winners from Brazzaville now face being stripped of their prizes.
Sprinter Deborah Odeyemi, who did not compete in Brazzaville but was a member of the Nigerian team at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Beijing, has also provided a positive sample for metenolone.
She failed her test at the All-Nigeria Championship and has also been handed a four-year sanction.
Para discus thrower Sunday Ezeh has been banned for four years for an illegal diuretic, while Para-lifter Thomas Kure has received the same penalty after also failing a test.
Nigerian athletes are sinking deeper into the abyss of being caught in the doping web with eight more caught and ordered to be exposed by the Youth and Sports minister, Solomon Dalung in a posture which is like, there’s no more hiding place for any athlete and their officials caught.
It was a riot act that came forth from a question from a journalist on why some banned athletes are being officially shielded. The no-nonsense minister went on to order the report to be made public immediately saying, “we must intensify our anti-doping campaign seriously henceforth. Make the report public immediately. We will not condone any form of cheating.”
According to gongnews, an online news portal, the athletes from five sports: para-athletics, para-powerlifting, weightlifting, wrestling and athletics. Six were trapped from the in-competition routine tests at the 2015 All African games in Congo while two were caught from the out-of-competition (OOCT) during the preparation for the Congo Games while one was trapped during the athletics trial of 30th July 2015 in Warri.
However, Mr Dalung should help the nation by causing for investigation the drug situation of the two teenagers caught earlier in the web and for these fresh eight cases. Every official that was or is involved MUST be brought to book. It is not enough to strike at the athletes and the same officials that helped them into the drug web are remaining to drag some other athletes into the same scenario.