AIU seeks six-year ban for Nigerian sprinter Oduduru

Nigerian sprinter Divine Oduduru has been provisionally suspended and notified of two potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) who said on Thursday they are seeking a six-year ban.

The alleged violations relate to the possession or use or attempted use of a prohibited substance. They come after U.S. prosecutors charged therapist Eric Lira with supplying performance-enhancing drugs to athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.

Oduduru’s provisional suspension comes a year after his teammate Blessing Okagbare was banned for 11 years for doping in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics and refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

Her phone was reviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on her return to the United States from Tokyo and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) complaint set out “highly incriminating text and voice messages” with Lira.

“The complaint against Lira provides specific information regarding persons identified as ‘Athlete 1’ and ‘Athlete 2’,” the AIU said in a statement.

“In February 2022, a sole arbitrator of the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that they were ‘comfortably satisfied’ that ‘Athlete 1’ was Oduduru’s teammate, Blessing Okagbare.

“Based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations imaged from Okagbare’s mobile phone by the FBI and further evidence obtained from the AIU investigation, the AIU alleges that Oduduru is ‘Athlete 2’ identified in the complaint.”

Oduduru, 26, has a personal best of 9.86 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.73 seconds in the 200 metres – a national record. He was disqualified in the 100m heats in Tokyo while he reached the 200m semi-finals.

© Reuters

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