Grace Nwokocha pleads for Nigerians’ support, not more problems
• ‘Nobody has checked on me since August 2022’
U.S.-based Nigerian sprinter, Grace Nwokocha, has begged Nigerian journalists not to complicate her current situation. Nwokocha was, on Friday, officially stripped of her medal and the times she ran in three races she competed in at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last August.
Nigeria was also stripped of the 4×100 metres’ relay gold medal she won alongside Tobi Amusan, Rosemary Chukwuma and Favour Ofili at the Games.
An online platform operated by a Nigerian journalist had claimed that Nwokocha blamed one of her Nigerian teammates for her travails in Birmingham. But the sprinter told The Guardian, yesterday, that she did not speak with anyone.
“Nobody has checked on me since August 2022 till date to know if I am still alive or dead,” Nwokocha said in a message to The Guardian. “Not even a single soul, I know you’re showing concern. I don’t want to lose my life to these strange circumstances.
“I really do not know why and where this is coming from. God will always fight for the innocent ones. That is all I can say,” she said. Debunking the report by the online platform, Nwokocha said: “I wouldn’t want to get involved with anything seen on social media concerning this whole issue for the sake of my life and mental health. People should allow me to rest.”
According to the online report, Nwokocha insists she did not knowingly ingest performance-enhancing substances and instead, accused one of her teammates of foul play at the Commonwealth Games.
The online report added: “Grace Nwokocha recalls seeing the other athlete using her water without her permission on July 28, 2022. She told her in clear terms not to do so, and that she did not have permission. Grace Nwokocha, herself, did not drink from that particular bottle thereafter.
“She unknowingly ingested a prohibited substance in a contaminated product on August 1, 2022. The facts are that having taken a break in her training, Grace Nwokocha went to take a drink from her bottle of Lucozade that she kept in her bag, as precaution.
“Her practice was/is to broadly assess the level of the liquid in the bottle to try and detect if others had drunk from it. The bottle was a transparent bottle with a Lucozade label wrapped around it, which covers part of the bottle, making it difficult to assess the exact amount of liquid within the bottle.
“She then drank from the bottle of Lucozade, but realised immediately that the level was lower than she suspected and she took it from her mouth, but by this time she has ingested a small amount. On further consideration, the level indicated to her that another athlete had drunk from the bottle (without her permission).
“She concluded that this was her colleague, who had done so on a previous occasion. Grace Nwokocha stopped drinking from the bottle as soon as she suspected that another athlete had drunk from it without her permission.
“Thereafter, there were then races on August 2 (Heats) and August 3 (for semi-final and Final), but no liquid was drunk by a third party from any drinks obtained by Grace Nwokocha.
“Accordingly, the inadvertent ingestion of a contaminated product occurred on August 1, 2022 in the Commonwealth Village. She was tested on August 3, 2022, which returned an adverse analytical finding.
“Subsequently, Grace Nwokocha was tested again on August 7, 2022 and had a negative result. This demonstrates that, irrespective of the facts relating to the inadvertent ingestion of a contaminated product, there is good reason to question the accuracy of the test result on August 3, 2022, as emphasised in correspondence on her behalf.”
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