Wednesday, May 18 2022

September 27 (THEWILL) – Investigation panel initiated to determine the distant and immediate factors responsible for the ineligibility of 10 Nigerian athletes to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, has started to hold meetings in person.

Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare gave the panel one month to complete its investigation.

THEWILL recalls that 10 Nigerian athletes were part of a group of 20 from seven countries excluded from Tokyo 2020 by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) because they were deemed not to have met World Athletics testing requirements (WA).

The rule that the Nigerian contingent flouted was WA Rule 15 that any athlete from a Category A country wishing to compete in the Olympics must undergo at least three drug tests without notice within a three week window at the during the ten months preceding the competition.

Category A nations are considered to be the most at risk for doping. The other affected athletes were from Ukraine, one from Morocco, one from Ethiopia, three from Belarus and two from Kenya.

The panel of seven is chaired by Professor Ken Anugweje, while the former Secretary General of the Nigeria Athletics Federation (AFN), Maria Worphil, has been appointed secretary.

According to Worphil, the panel held two face-to-face meetings on September 2, while a second meeting was held six days later. She said: “We are at the stage of face-to-face interaction and should conclude before the deadline stated in our letter of appointment.”

As an investigative group, its mandate includes determining the roles and responsibilities of the National Anti-Doping Commission, the AFN, the Elite Athlete Development Federation, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Youth Development. sports, the Nigerian Olympic Committee and the athletes concerned. in the testing process.

It will also examine the impact of the crisis that ravaged AFN shortly after the inauguration of the last board of directors headed by Shehu Ibrahim Gusau in July 2017 on the testing process and normal administrative processes of the governing body of the athletics of the country.

It will be the responsibility of the panel to also propose solutions that will prevent a recurrence while recommending sanctions and compensation, if necessary.

It has been learned that until last month, AFN did not have an anti-doping committee or commission or an anti-doping officer during the four years of the last board of directors. In addition, the president resumed the functions of secretary general as enshrined in the statutes of the Federation (2017) for more than half of the four years of the board of directors, changing the password of the e – AFN official email used to correspond with both the AIU and the athletics world.

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