Egonu tasks ministry to strengthen Nigeria’s anti-doping system
If Nigeria desired to be seen as a serious country in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs, the sports ministry must strengthen the country’s anti-doping system and law, president of the Muaythai Federation (MFN), Comrade Paul Egonu has said.
Egonu, who advised the ministry to set up a system that would update athletes on banned substances and dangers in using illicit drugs, said apart from the damage in the country’s image, performance-enhancing drugs are also dangerous to athletes’ health.
Egonu told The Guardian that Nigerian athletes also needed to be educated on the ripple effects and career stagnation that follows when they test positive to banned drugs.
Drawing from the recent provisional suspension of Nigeria-born Bahraini athlete, Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu (now known as Salwa Eid Naser), who has been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics for missing four testing windows, Egonu advised athletes to be mindful of what they eat or drink to avoid falling foul of the law when subjected to unscheduled tests.
Egonu said it was imperative for the sports ministry to step up its anti-doping campaign and continually educate its athletes on rules of doping.
“When an athlete breaks a record and he is later stripped of the title, it is painful. It is important athletes know doping rules. They should be guided on what to eat, drink and things to stay away from.
“Naser’s case should be a wake up call to Nigerian sports stars. She was allowed to run at the World Championships last year despite missing three tests and was provisionally suspended only after missing a fourth test in January.
“Nigerian athletes should be careful to avoid falling into this situation,” he said