Nigerian athletes staged a protest in Tokyo after 10 of them were disqualified from taking part in the track and field events of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The protesting athletes carried placards with the inscription “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence”, “All we wanted to do was compete” and “We are not just alternates but potential medalists”.
The protest was said to have taken place earlier today, Friday, July 30, 2021 – hours after the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Thursday admitted “lapses” on its part over the disqualification of the athletes from Tokyo Olympics for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had announced the disqualification of the Nigerian athletes on Wednesday. The affected athletes are Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke.
The AFN, which has been plagued by power tussle for several years, said they 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,” AFN said in a statement. (Additional reports by The PUNCH and Channels TV)