Ten Nigerian athletes have been ruled ineligible to compete at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), lowering the country’s chances of winning medals. The ban was following the failure of Nigerian officials to ensure athletes met the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations.
This was revealed in a statement on Wednesday by the AIU, an independent body created by the World Athletic that manages all integrity issues, both doping and non-doping, saying 18 athletes were disqualified.
The affected countries include Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine, making Nigeria the country with the highest number of disqualified athletes.
According to the AIU website, Nigeria was included in ‘Category A’ in 2020 despite not having major doping cases, but due to the low domestic testing levels.
“National Federations must play their part in supporting anti-doping efforts. The eligibility rules for athletes from ‘Category A’ countries are very clear and compliance is essential for cementing the required long-term changes and ensuring a level playing field for clean athletes,” said David Howman, Chair of the AIU Board.
“I must underline that there have been significant improvements in anti-doping efforts in most ‘Category A’ countries thanks to this rule. It is clear that the relevant National Federations in conjunction with their NADOs have started to take their testing responsibilities seriously, and I thank them for their efforts, but there remains a long way to go in some circumstances,” he added.