Nigerian Athletes Protest Olympic Bans, Allege Officials Led to Missed Doping Tests

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2021

Tokyo , Japan - 30 July 2021; A security guard on duty outside the Olympic Stadium prior to the first athletics session of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Nigerian athletes banned from the Tokyo Olympics are protesting officials Friday in Japan:

FAST TRACK 🇳🇬 @FastTrackNaija

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamNigeria?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamNigeria</a> athletes are protesting in Tokyo.<br><br>• Negligence of incompetent administrators ensured 10 of them are banned from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a><br><br>• 🇳🇬 officials refused to release Samsung S20+ 5G phone gifts by Samsung (which costs $1,000+) to the disqualified athletes.<br><br>What a shame! <a href="https://t.co/Ql7sihOMIm">pic.twitter.com/Ql7sihOMIm</a>

Chioma Onyekwere, OLY @cicionyekwere

The 10 of us will not be competing, but that won’t stop us for speaking up on how we feel robbed from this experience. <a href="https://t.co/4c9VJtI926">pic.twitter.com/4c9VJtI926</a>

The 10 track and field competitors qualified for the Olympics but they are unable to compete after failing to take the three mandatory out-of-competition tests, according to Tunde Eludini of the Premium Times.

The Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) reportedly failed to register the non-residents for the tests.

"The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances will not be negatively impacted,” the AFN said in response, per Gabrielle Fonrouge of the New York Post.

No Nigerian athlete has tested positive for any banned substance.

The Nigeria sports ministry had initially labeled those disqualified as "alternate and foreign students athletes," per Eludini.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) ruled out 20 athletes from all countries due to non-compliance with drug testing requirements, with Nigeria being the "most affected country," per Oluwashina Okeleji of BBC Sport.

Nigeria is yet to earn a medal at the 2020 Olympics but track and field has been the country's best sport with 13 of the 25 all-time medals coming in the event.

One consolation for the disqualified athletes is they have at least received their Samsung Galaxy S21 phone gifted to all Olympic competitors, according to Tosin Oluwalowo of the Punch. They were initially prevented from receiving the gifts but the International Olympic Committee granted a waiver.