Nigerian sprinter Divine Oduduru suspended, risks six-year ban
Divine Oduduru, a Nigerian sprinter, has been suspended indefinitely by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
According to a statement issued by the AIU on Thursday, Oduduru, Nigeria’s second-fastest runner ever, trailing only the legendary Olusoji Fasuba, is also facing a six-year ban.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has informed Divine Oduduru of two potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) and is seeking a six-year ban against the Nigerian.
“The sprinter has been advised of the possibility of ADRVs for possession (Rule 2.6 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules; ADR) and/or use or attempted use of multiple Prohibited Substances” (Rule 2.2 ADR). He has been immediately provisionally suspended.” In part, the AIU statement was read.
It continued, “These alleged violations stem from an AIU investigation based on information in a criminal charge brought against US-based “naturopathic” therapist Eric Lira, on 12 January 2022, by the United States Department of Justice under the Rodchenkov Act”
“Lira is alleged to have supplied performance-enhancing drugs to athletes before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (delayed until summer 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic).”
“The complaint against Lira provides specific information regarding persons identified as ‘Athlete 1’ and ‘Athlete 2’. In February 2022, a sole arbitrator of the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that they were “comfortably satisfied” that ‘Athlete 1’ was Oduduru’s team-mate, Blessing Okagbare, and banned her from the sport for ten years, which was increased to an 11-year ban in June 2022 following further charges brought by the AIU”
The AIU has provisionally suspended Divine Oduduru (Nigeria) for possession/use or attempted use of a Prohibited Substance.
The AIU stated that based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations gotten from Okagbare’s mobile phone by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and further evidence obtained from the AIU investigation, the AIU alleges that Oduduru is ‘Athlete 2’ identified in the complaint.
Since his unceremonious outing at the Tokyo Olympics, Oduduru has been off the radar on the race tracks.
He was not part of Team Nigeria at the Mauritius 2022 African Athletics Championships, as well as the World Championships and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Though he initially hinted he will be in action at the last National Sports Festival held in Asaba, Delta State, he ended up not competing. He blamed injury for his absence.
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