The Athletics Integrity Unit have announced the indefinite suspension of Nigerian sprinter star Divine Oduduru on charges of doping.
Oduduru currently holds personal bests of 9.86 seconds for the 100 m and 19.73 seconds for the 200 m.
He was also a 100m and 200m gold medal winner at the African Youth Athletics Championship, and a finalist in the World Youth Athletics Championship in the same year.
The 24 year-old faces a six-year ban from the Sport if the investigations being carried out by World Athletics’ integrity unit turns out incontrovertible evidence of doping.
The Athletics Integrity Unit statement reads:
AIU NOTIFIES AND PROVISIONALLY SUSPENDS DIVINE ODUDURU
9 FEBRUARY 2023, MONACO: The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has notified Divine Oduduru of two potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) and is seeking a six-year ban against the Nigerian.
The sprinter has been notified of potential ADRVs for possession (Rule 2.6 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules; ADR) and/or use or attempted use of multiple Prohibited Substances (Rule 2.2 ADR). He has been provisionally suspended immediately.
These alleged violations stem from an AIU investigation based on information in a criminal charge brought against US-based “naturopathic” therapist Eric Lira, on 12 January, 2022, by the United States Department of Justice under the Rodchenkov Act. Lira is alleged to have supplied performance- enhancing drugs to athletes before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (delayed until summer 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic). The complaint against Lira provides specific information regarding persons identified as ‘Athlete 1’ and ‘Athlete 2’. In February 2022, a sole arbitrator of the AIU Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that they were “comfortably satisfied” that ‘Athlete 1’ was Oduduru’s team-mate, Blessing Okagbare, and banned her from the sport for ten years, which was increased to an 11-year ban in June 2022 following further charges brought by the AIU.
Based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations imaged from Okagbare’s mobile phone by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and further evidence obtained from the AIU investigation, the AIU alleges that Oduduru is ‘Athlete 2’ identified in the complaint.
As the process is ongoing, the AIU will make no further comment on the matter at this time.
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