Barely one year after Blessing Okagbare was banned for 11 years for dope, her teammate, Divine Oduduru, has also been provisionally suspended from track & field and notified of two potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
If Oduduru, 26, is found guilty, he risks a six-year ban from athletics. It may even be more years in the cooler just like Okagbare who got additional one year to the 10 years she was initially banned.
According to AIU yesterday, Oduduru’s alleged violations relate to the possession or use or attempted use of a prohibited substance. The Nigerian sprinter was fingered as “Athlete 2” in the America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation of Therapist Eric Lira who was prosecuted for
supplying performance-enhancing drugs to athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Both Okagbare and Oduduru were listed as “Athlete 1” and “Athlete 2” in that investigation that involved the review of Okagbare’s telephone chats and discussions with Eric Lira.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection found “incriminating text and voice messages with Lira” on Okagbare’s phone on her return to the United States from Tokyo where she was stopped from competing in the semi final of the 100m event.
“The complaint against Lira provides specific information regarding persons identified as ‘Athlete 1’ and ‘Athlete 2’,” the AIU said in a statement at the time.
“In February 2022, a sole arbitrator of the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that they were ‘comfortably satisfied’ that ‘Athlete 1’ was Oduduru’s team mate, Blessing Okagbare.
“Based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations imaged from Okagbare’s mobile phone by the FBI and further evidence obtained from the AIU investigation, the body alleges that Oduduru is ‘Athlete 2’ identified in the complaint.”
Okagbare was provisionally suspended July 31, hours before her scheduled appearance in the 100-meter semifinals in Tokyo, after she tested positive for human growth hormone in a sample taken before the Games. She subsequently was found to have tested positive for recombinant erythropoietin in a different sample.
Oduduru has a personal best of 9.86 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.73 seconds in the 200 metres – a national record. He was disqualified in the 100m heats in Tokyo while he reached the 200m semi-finals.