Panafrican News Agency

Nigeria: AFN declares Nigeria's athletics team to Beijing 2015 drug free

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has revealed that all its 17 athletes for the 2015 IAAF World Championship in China are drug free, according to local media reports.

The 2015 IAAF World Championship, called Beijing 2015, will begin in the Chinese capital on 22 August.

Ahead of the championship, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) searchlight is on drug cheats, designed to clean up the sport.

The World Athletics governing body has been under serious attack in the last few weeks by critics, who feel the leadership was ‘covering up’ for athletes using drugs to achieve success during competitions.

However, the IAAF seems to have woken up from its slumber, as it initiated disciplinary action against 28 athletes after they retested samples from Helsinki 2005 and Osaka 2007 World Championships with new technology that can uncover previously undetectable substances and found 32 adverse doping cases.

AFN says it has carried out necessary dope tests on Nigerian athletes, adding that they are clean.

Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, was quoted as saying that the top athletes, who emerged victorious at the last All Nigeria Open Championship in Warri, Delta State, were made to undergo necessary dope tests soon after their events.

“The athletes know the implication of using drugs to compete,” Nesiama said. “But we are not relenting on our part because the AFN won’t allow any athlete to rubbish the good image of Nigeria before the international community. All the athletes who competed and won during the All Nigerian Open in Warri were tested for drugs and I can say they are clean.

“Blessing Okagbare did not compete in Warri, but she has taken part in some Diamond Leagues this year and that means she is clean. We don’t have anything to worry about as far as drug issues are concerned. We are going to Beijing, not just to complete the number, but try to win medals for Nigeria. We have the athletes and by God’s Grace, we shall return home with great success from Beijing,” Nesiama said.

Among the 32 adverse doping cases released by the IAAF, Eastern Europeans, including Russians, make up a large number of the 28, the reports indicated.

According to the reports, Team Nigeria’s contingent, made up of 14 female and three male athletes, will depart Abuja next Tuesday.

Team Nigeria’s contingent is made of the following female athletes -- Commonwealth and African track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Gloria Asumnu, Stephanie Kalu, Cecilia Francis, Deborah Odeyemi, Patience Okon, Regina George, Oluwatosin Adeloye, Margaret Etim, Rita Ossai, Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa, Doreen Amata, Weyinmi Lindsay and Amaka Ogoegbunam.

The three male athletes making the trip are Tosin Oke, Tega Odele and Miles Ukaoma.
-0- PANA VAO 13Aug2015