Doping Scandal: Commonwealth sprinter Nwokocha suspended as Nigeria risks losing gold medal

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has announced the provisional suspension of Nigerian sprinter Grace Nwokocha.


Nwokocha was part of the quartet that won gold in the 4x100m relay at this year’s Commonwealth Games.


She has been suspended by the world body for the use of banned substances. Ostarine and Ligandrol, two anabolic agents prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – were found in Nwokocha’s blood sample.


“The AIU has provisionally suspended Nigerian runner, Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha, for the Presence/Use of Prohibited Substances (Ostarine & Ligandrol) (Article 2.1 and Article 2.2),” the body said in a statement on Twitter.


A provisional suspension means an athlete is temporarily banned from competition before a final decision is taken at a hearing conducted under WADA rules.


Nwokocha, 21, ran the anchor leg in Birmingham last month as Nigeria beat England and Jamaica to take gold in record-breaking fashion at the Commonwealth Games.


The trio of Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Tobi Amusan were the other members of the winning quartet that set a new African Record of 42.10s.


As earlier reported by PREMIUM TIMES, with the latest development, the gold medal and African record are at risk of being expunged.


The doping rule nullifies any performance in its entirety, even if just a member of the team is guilty of the doping infraction.


Nwokocha who is the reigning Nigeria national champion took part in last year’s Tokyo Olympics and also entered the 100m and 200m at the world championships in Eugene Oregon this year, reaching the semi-finals in both events.


While the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has said it would be investigating the Nwokocha doping saga, PREMIUM TIMES findings show the sprinter’s training mate in the United States is also in the doping dragnet.


Back-to-back NCAA champion Randolph Ross and Nwokocha used to share the same coach Duane Ross.


Randolph was sent packing from the World Athletics Championships held in Oregon on the eve of his 400-meter preliminary race, about a month after officials could not locate him to take an anti-doping test.


Before this latest setback, Blessing Okagbare was the last Nigerian athlete to be provisionally suspended before a 10-year ban was later slammed on her for multiple doping infractions and failure to corporate with investigators.


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