No Official Visit, Okagbare Neglected by Sports Ministry, Sister Alleges
By Omolosho Fatai Olamilekan
Grace Okagbare, elder sister of the embattled Nigerian athlete, Blessing Okagbare, has said no official from the Ministry of Sports has checked on sprint star, adding that all that is being reported about her sister are ‘fabricated and unfounded lies to tarnish her image’.
She stated this in a statement she signed and titled, ‘The many Lies of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria regarding Blessing Okagbare Tokyo 2020 Olympics Ordeal’.
Grace further alleged that since the Tokyo Games, the Athletics Integrity Units has not said ‘anything new about the case or invite her to hear her side of the story’.
According to her, AFN is trying to force her to agree to what she didn’t do, and she has vehemently refused and is prepared to go to court for proper redress.
“I am sincerely disappointed that since after the ordeals of Queen B. Okagbare, my kid sister and Africa’s Queen of the tracks during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics games, no official from the Ministry of Sports has reached out to her.
“Instead, what we are seeing in the media space is fabricated and unfounded lies to tarnish her image. This is sad and preposterous.
“A former sports Minister who is supposed to be a father figure to take up her case has rather failed woefully in all ramifications instead he’s going about running his mouth that he knew who gave drugs to Blessing.
“Blessing Okagbare believes that since she has been standing against the ills in the Sports Ministry, she is now a target. And they are hell-bent on tarnishing her image.
“They have fruitlessly tried to force her to own up and accept what she didn’t do and she won’t.
“How can she cooperate or succumb to their whims and caprices when she hasn’t been to court for once since the incident happened?
“Up till date she hasn’t been called for the hearing of the case, but the idiots are spreading lies that she refused to cooperate with them, last month they came out with their usual propaganda that she has been banned.
“I believe there’s something they are either hiding or trying to cover up in this whole ordeal.
“For Okagbare to be ignored since after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics goes to show that government officials and sports administrators, deliberately hell-bent on tarnishing her image and want her career to go down,” the statement reads in part.
Blessing Okagbare was suspended from the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games after testing positive for human growth hormone.
A statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) revealed that Okagbare who is both a world and Olympic medalist failed an out-of-competition test taken on July 19.
Her suspension was officially announced by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in a statement issued Saturday, July 31, 2021.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit has provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria today with immediate effect after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human growth hormone.
“Growth hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list and a provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics anti-doping rules.
“The AIU collected the sample from Ms. Okagbare during an out-of-competition test on 19 July.
“The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at midday Central European Time yesterday, Friday 30 July.
“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo.
“She was scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m this evening.
“The AIU will make no further comment on this matter at this time.”