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AFN to decide on Nathaniel’s drug scandal tomorrow


Nigeria’s (silver) Patience Okon George, Glory Onome Nathaniel, Praise Idamadudu, Yinka Ajaki pose with their medals after the athletics women’s 4x400m relay final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 14, 2018. SAEED KHAN / AFP

The committee set up by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to probe the circumstances surrounding the drug scandal dogging one of the country’s most talented athletes in the women’s 400m hurdles, Glory Onome Nathaniel, will sit tomorrow, the Technical Director of the Federation, Sunday Adeleye has said.

Nathaniel has been consistent in the 400m hurdles for the past three years. She won gold medal for Team Nigeria at Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship, but was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) due to the presence of a prohibited substance, Stanozolol, in her system.

Adeleye told The Guardian yesterday that the committee would sit tomorrow to unravel the circumstances surrounding the drug issue, which many fear might see the athlete being stripped of the gold medal she won in Asaba and also face ban.

Many athletics followers are yet to come to terms with the reason Nathaniel should be tempted to spike her system with banned substances, going by her raw talent and consistency in the last three years. She is being positioned as the one to break Ajoke Odumosu’s National Record of 54.40 seconds set at the London 2012 Olympics.

Nathaniel represented Nigeria at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London last year, where she made her debut with her brother Samson, becoming the second set of siblings after Osmond and Davidson Ezinwa, to represent Nigeria at the IAAF World Championships.

She got to the semis in the 400m hurdles, and was part of the women’s 4x400m relay team that finished fifth in the final.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Nathaniel set a new Personal Best of 55.01secs in the semis, and finished sixth in the final. She went on to grab a silver medal in the 4x400m.

If she is found guilty in the on-going drug scandal and banned, it will be sad for Nigeria to miss such a promising athlete for the period she will stay away from the track.

Meanwhile, the sprinter, Blessing Ogundiran, who was detained by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ikeja, Lagos for allegedly putting the banned substance in Nathaniel’s food or drink, has been released, Adeleye confirmed yesterday.

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Glory Onome Nathaniel
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