Nigeria’s star athlete, Blessing Okagbare has been banned from representing Nigeria at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, following her decision to skip the 2015 All Africa Games (AAG).

The National Sports Commission (NSC) and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) announced the decision to ban the sprinter was a fallout of her decision to snub the AAG without due consultation with the authority.

“The NSC and the AFN examined the circumstances bordering her decision to dock the AAG, and came to the conclusion to deny the athlete any chance of appearing in next year’s Olympics,” the two bodies explained in a joint statement.

Okagbare, who had a dismal outing at the IAAF World championships in Beijing, China last month, reportedly claimed that injury forced her out of the All Africa Games.
The Delta State-born sprinter was one of Nigeria’s gold-medal favourite in the game having run the third fastest time of the season in the 100m and her absence is considered a huge loss to Team Nigeria.

Okagbare, it would be recalled, reportedly told officials of the AFN not to expect her in Congo after the Beijing championship But surprisingly showed up in Zurich, where she ran 10.98 seconds in the Diamond League, much to the chagrin of athletics officials who gave her the benefit of the doubt because of her purported injury.

By Olisemeka Obeche


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