Organisers of the fifth edition of the Okpekpe international 10km road race have named one of Nigeria’s foremost sports medicine practitioners, Dr Akinwunmi Amao, as the chief anti-doping officer for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Bronze Label race scheduled to hold next month in Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo State.
Amao, a former head of the Medical Unit of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports was in charge of the doping control of the fourth edition of the race last year and has been retained for this year’s event.
“We are delighted to announce that veteran sports medicine practitioner, Dr Akin Amao, will continue to serve as the head of the anti-doping unit for the race,” said Dare Esan, spokesman for the event.
“Doping issues are taken very seriously by the IAAF following damaging revelations that have trailed the sports in the last four years and the Okpekpe international 10km road race is one of the prestigious road races the IAAF have considered as an international competition in accordance with the IAAF anti-doping rule 35.9. The race is the only road race in Nigeria and Africa listed by the IAAF in its list of international competitions for the first half of 2017 and it is one of nine road races in May worldwide including the two 10-kilometre road races in India (Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bengaluru ) and Canada (Ottawa 10K Ottawa) that will attract the focus of the international governing body,” said Esan.
“This greatly informed the decision of the organisers to retain Dr Amao who is seen as a man of honour and integrity as far as sports medicie in Nigeria is concerned to be at the head of the anti-doping unit for the race in Okpekpe,” explained Esan who further revealed that Amao’s name has already been sent to the IAAF.
“We have a doping station built in Okpekpe for the race.This is where the sample collection session will be conducted by doping control officers who have been trained and authorised by the Nigeria anti-doping agency with delegated responsibility for the on-site management of sample collection session,” he added.
Esan also revealed that the testing kits needed for effective anti-doping in accordance with the IAAF anti-doping rules have arrived.
“We are ready for the race and those who qualified to be called elite athletes based on the times they have returned in the last 24 months are the ones open to testing. Those running for fun or charity are excluded. We have also advised athletes with illnesses or conditions that require the use of medication listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List to apply for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) with the relevant agency before coming for the race,” said Esan.