SPRINTER Blessing Okagbare was one of Nigeria’s big medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics.
One of the favourites to challenge Team GB’s Dina Asher-Smith in the 100m sprint, Okagbare had stormed to victory in her heat on Friday.
But she is now OUT of the Games after dramatic developments before the semi-finals on Saturday.
Why has Blessing Okagbare been suspended from the Olympics?
The Nigerian star, 32, is one of Africa’s brightest Olympic stars and competes is a world-class sprinter and long-jumper.
She won a silver medal at Beijing 2008 in the long-jump as a teenager, before establishing herself as a sprint specialist from 2011 onwards.
Okagbare made the final of the 100m at London 2012 but finished eighth, before a disappointing showing in Rio where she failed to make it past the semis.
Sandwiched inbetween those showings though was a sprint double at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she really announced herself on the international scene.
There was much anticipation ahead of her fourth Olympics in Tokyo after a strong 2021 though and she was one of the chief threats to Dina Asher-Smith.
Blessing has cruised into the semi-finals with a run of 11.05, seeing off Brit Asha Philip into second place.
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But she is now been sensationally SUSPENDED after failing a drugs test.
The Nigerian has been provisionally suspended after a sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for Human Growth Hormone.
An AIU statement read: “The AIU has provisionally suspended Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, with immediate effect after an out-of-competition sample collected from the sprinter tested positive for human Growth Hormone, a prohibited substance on the 2021 WADA Prohibited List.
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“‘The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at mid-day 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 at this time”.