Up to 10 thletes from Nigeria will not be allowed to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games, for failing to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-doping Rules. Another 10 athletes from Belarus, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and Ukraine were also disqualified.
In a statemen released by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), athletes from ‘Category A’ countries grouped as ‘high risk’ because of deficiencies in their testing programmes were required to undergone at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) in the 10 months leading to a major event.
“Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games,” said Chair of the AIU Board David Howman.
Bahrain is the only one among the seven Category A countries that did not have at least one athlete disqualified. Belarus had three; Ethiopia, one; Kenya, two; Morocco, one, and Ukraine, three disqualified athletes. Nigeria is therefore the most affected with 10 disqualified athletes.
The essence of drug testing athletes is to guard against competition manipulation and promote clean and fair sport. In the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, the AIU said it received 17 referrals for investigation of suspicious qualifying performances from 16 countries, which included 31 athletes and five relay teams.
Howman stressed that the testing would serve as a strong deterrent to potential doping and highlight the importance of strong national-level testing in the affected countries.