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Panel on Team Nigeria’s Tokyo Olympics misadventure to meet with ‘key’ athletes

By Gowon Akpodonor
16 September 2021   |   3:00 am
The panel was instituted by Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

Nigerian athletes protest at the Tokyo Olympics

The panel instituted by Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics is expected to meet with some key athletes soon.

The panel of seven members, headed by AFN Head of Medical and Anti- Doping Commission, Prof. Ken Anugweje of the University of Port Harcourt, was set up by Sunday Dare following the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) ruling that 10 of Team Nigeria’s athletes were ineligible to participate in the Tokyo Olympics on account of not taking their third mandatory Out of Competition Test (OCT).

The Guardian learned yesterday that the panel had penciled down names of some key athletes to interrogate in its bid to ‘get to the bottom of what transpired at the Olympic Games.

A source hinted that members of the panel had not been able to settle down to deliberate on some key issues because of their involvement in various national assignment.

“Majority of the members have been involved in different national assignments, including the World Athletics U-20 Championship in Nairobi, Kenya and the Paralympics Games in Tokyo. All these led to the delay, but the panel will meet with some key athletes very soon. There is no way the panel will submit its findings without meeting with the athletes,” the source stated.

Dare had promised he would probe the unfortunate development, which caused big embarrassment to Nigerians during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The panel has Maria Wophil of the Federation and Elite Athletes Department (FEAD) as Secretary.

Other members are the Director of Sports Medicine in the Ministry, Dr. John Onyeudo; the Ministry’s Zonal officer, Femi Ajao; a former director of Science at the National Sports Commission, Dr. Abdulkadir Muazu; former board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), DIG. Sani Mohammed and ex-Olympian, Enefiok Udo-Obong.