THERE are growing concerns that Nigeria’s tracks star, Blessing Okagbare, may be heading to more serious troubles or possibly heading to jail given latest developments in her alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, raised the concern while mulling latest dimension to the US-based Nigerian tracks tar.
Okagbare, suspended on the eve of her semi final race at the Tokyo Olympics for testing positive to human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test, later had three extra charges laid against her by the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU.
Among others, she is said to have tested positive to another banned substance, Recombinant Erythropoietin, EPO, a substance that increases red blood cell count, in addition to being charged for not cooperating with the AIU’s investigation.
Arising from the charges, an official of the AFN expressed fears that Okagbare may be walking into more trouble over what he described as her ‘ego problem.’
“I am really worried by the new dimension Okagbare’s drug issue is taking.
“If care is not taken, she might end up in jail because to test positive to EPO is a serious offence as far as athletics is concerned. The EPO is a type of drug given to horses while preparing them for race. I learnt she is not even cooperating with the AIU.
“I am sure Okagbare must have stepped on many toes in the past due to her ego problem, and those people may have been patiently waiting for this opportunity to pay her back.
“ If the AIU decides to take the investigation backwards and find her culpable, Okagbare might be stripped of some of her medals. My advice to her is to cooperate with the investigation,” the AFN official said.
According to the AIU, Okagbare “failed to comply with a formal requirement to produce relevant documents, records and electronic storage devices.”
But Okagbare, Beijing 2008 Olympics Long Jump silver medallist, who also won her 100m heat in Tokyo before she was suspended from the Games, has denied all the charges