Secretary-General, Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation, Dapo Akinyele, has lamented the four-year ban handed Esther Oyema by the International Paralympics Committee, but insists it won’t affect their chances at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Oyema, who won gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games, 2010, 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games and silver at the 2016 Paralympics, was banned for four years by the IPC on Wednesday, after testing positive to a prohibited substance in a urine sample test provided January 28, 2019.
“It’s painful that the athlete tested positive but the matter has been dragging since January 2019, when she was tested,” Akinyele told The PUNCH.
“Nobody has ever admitted that they took drugs, all the athletes that have been caught have always given excuses.
“There is rule in WADA, that anything you take, you are responsible for it, and they won’t ban any other person for whatever you put inside your body. That’s why we keep telling them atheletes that they should get enough information before using any supplement or drug.
“Preparations for the Olympics started in 2017 and she had been dropped from the team since she tested positive in January 2019, so, she is not one of our athletes for the Paralympics.”
He said the federation had warned athletes about the dangers involved in taking prohibited substances.
Akinyele added, “We are worried at her testing positive and the subsequent ban. No federation would be happy when their athletes test positive to drug-related substances. But again, it has been made known to all the athletes that nobody would hold their federation responsible for whatever they do.
“We have taken them through different information and at the point they want to go to any competition, there is a course that they go through that gives them information.
“They only go into drugs when they have realised that they are diminishing in form and cannot compete at the highest level again.”