AFN admits lapses for Olympics disqualification

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, has  admitted “lapses” for the disqualification of 10 athletes from Tokyo Olympics.

The Athletics Integrity Unit had announced the disqualification of the Nigerian athletes on Wednesday for not complying with drug testing requirements.

The AFN, which has been plagued by power tussle for several years, said it would take responsibility for the lapses that led to the disqualification.

“The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances (at Tokyo Olympics) will not be negatively impacted.

“All our athletes resident in Nigeria and who qualified for the Olympic Games completed the three mandatory tests.

“Most of our top athletes resident in the USA also completed their tests.

“However, a few athletes in the American collegiate system were tested, but those tests were deemed not to have complied with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) sample collection and analysis standards,” it said in a statement.

The AFN disclosed that it had appointed a top official to head its medical and anti-doping commission.

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Star sprinter Blessing Okagbare, who will compete in the 100m and 200m in Tokyo, was critical of the country’s sports officials.

“The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages,” she said.

“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contract/kits forgetting their major responsibility – the athletes.

“It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking the truth. It’s my career,” she added.