Nigeria’s national record-holder in 200 metres, Divine Oduduru, has been suspended from competition indefinitely by the Athletics Integrity Unit over two anti-doping violations.
Oduduru, who now stands the risk of being banned for six years, has been charged with “the possession and/or use or attempted use of multiple prohibited substances.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the AIU is a disciplinary arm of the world athletics governing body, World Athletics.
This development is the latest in Nigeria’s low moments in track and field, coming about a year after the 11-year ban imposed on former national team captain Blessing Okagbare.
It added that process has begun to hand a six-year ban on the Ughelli-born athlete.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has notified Divine Oduduru of two potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) and is seeking a six-year ban against the Nigerian,” the statement reads.
“The sprinter has been notified of potential 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 provisionally suspended immediately.
“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.
“Based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations imaged 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.
“As the process is ongoing, the AIU will make no further comment on the matter at this time.”
NAN reports that Oduduru has a personal best of 9.86 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.73 seconds in the 200 metres.