Contrary to some reports making the rounds in the Nigerian media, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) have released a statement refuting that six-time 100m national champion Blessing Okagbare has been banned from competing in next year’s Rio Olympic Games.
There were claims that Okagbare was sanctioned by the Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Alhassan Yakmut, because she withdrew from representing Nigeria at the ongoing 2015 All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. However, the AFN have stated that if they had wanted to punish Okagbare, they would first set up a panel to determine her case.
“Even if Okagbare has done something and we intend to punish her, the secretary General will first write her a letter inviting her to face disciplinary committee where she will defend herself against the allegation. After a fair hearing, the disciplinary committee will make a recommendation to the board, and the board will now decide’’ read a statement from the AFN spokesperson, Olukayode Thomas.
The AFN also added that the African 100m record holder has neither been summoned nor queried by the federation, and that the NSC will not just ban her without recourse to a hearing.
“Okagbare has not done anything to warrant NSC to ban her, but even if she did, the Director General is former athlete and an astute administrator, he will follow due process’’ the statement added.
Eyebrows were raised last week after the 2014 Commonwealth champion raced at the Zurich Diamond League meet, days after she didn’t turn up for her 200m and 4x100m races at the 2015 World Championships because of a reported hamstring injury.