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End of the Road for Okagbare?

Blessing Okagbare has lost her appeal and will serve a four-year ban, that could effectively end her professional career.

The 32-year-old tested positive for banned substance during the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics that held in August.

By the time she concludes serving her ban, she would be 36 and mostly unlikely to return to the track.

The U.S.-based sprinter was thrown out of the Tokyo Olympics Games on the eve of the semifinals of the women’s 100m after testing positive for human growth hormone. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) revealed then that Okagbare failed an out-of-competition test taken on July 19. She appealed against the suspension immediately, insisting on seeing the result of her B Sample.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Okagbare, a medallist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, was allegedly handed four-year ban after the result of her B Sample came out with the same result.

“Okagbare started her four-year ban long ago,” a source close to World Athletics (WA) said in a chat with The Guardian. “It is just unfortunate Blessing Okagbare found herself in this mess. When the result of her A Sample came out, Okagbare had the option of accepting it, which could have seen her ban reduced to two or three years, but she insisted on her B Sample. I pity her though, but WA wants all athletes to compete and win clean. Okagbare’s ban may elapse before the Paris 2024 Olympics,” the official stated.

Okagbare had won her heat on Friday (July 30), and was meant to compete in the women’s 100 metres semifinals the next day, when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) officially announced her suspension in the morning.

The AIU explained then that the Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list, and a provisional suspension on Okagbare was mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics anti-doping rules.

“The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at midday Central European Time on Friday, July 30.

“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo.”

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