Nigerian Athletes Not at Risk of Missing Tokyo Olympics, Says AFN

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has refuted reports that Nigerian athletes risk missing out of next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan because of the addition of Nigeria to the highest category (A) of countries having the highest doping risk in the sport.

According to AFN, Rule 15 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping guidelines sets out the National Federations’ anti- doping obligations.

“The purpose of the rule is to ensure that Member Federations have clear anti-doping obligations; play a greater part in ensuring a level playing field and elevate the overall standard of integrity in athletics.

“Under the rules, National Federations are categorized annually by the Athletics Integrity Unit Board in three different categories — A, B and C — according to the level of doping risk to the sport. (Category A having the highest doping risk to the sport and Category C the lowest).

AFN’s Ag. President, Honorable Olamide George insisted yesterday that “Sunday Adeleye, a former member of the board of the federation who was erroneously addressed as the technical director of the federation in the published report yesterday was only looking for relevance by rehasing an old story.

“The addition of Nigeria to the A category was done in March this year and both the AFN and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development have made appreciable efforts to ensure compliance with the relevant anti-doping rules. I am shocked the newspaper (not THISDAY) failed in its duty of reporting all sides to the story.

“Adeleye should have been asked what efforts did the AFN make while he was there as technical director,” stressed George who revealed that the AFN did not have an anti-doping department and head until this year when the board met in January and named Professor Ken Anugweje as head of the committee.

“This is one of the basic requirements set out in Rule 15. The AFN (and not the Sports Ministry) is expected to ‘appoint one person as primary contact for the Athletics Integrity Unit with authority over anti-doping matters. Rule 15 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules is clearly about the obligations of member federations (the AFN in this case) and Adeleye should have ensured he understands the rules before coming out to raise false and unnecessary alarm,” George added and assurred all stakeholders that Nigerian athletes will be in Tokyo next year at the Olympics.

“International elite athletes like Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru and a few athletes who have qualified for the Games are in the international testing pool and get tested regularly while competing in the international circuit. In fact, the National Anti-Doping Committee (NADC) has confirmed that Brume, Amusan and majority of the foreign-based athletes have been tested several times this year,” said George.