Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare suspended for doping violation ahead of 100 meter semifinal

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Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare
Blessing Okagbare was provisionally suspended just hours before she was set to run in the 100 meter semifinal. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare was provisionally suspended for a doping violation on Saturday in Tokyo, according to the Associated Press.

The news came just hours before Okagbare was set to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100m at the Olympics.

Okagbare tests positive for HGH ahead of 100m semifinal

Okagbare, per the report, tested positive for human growth hormone at an out-of-competition test on July 19.

The results of that test were received on Friday — after she had already won her preliminary heat in 11.05 seconds — and she was informed of her suspension on Saturday morning.

The 32-year-old can now request that a backup sample be tested to confirm the results. It’s unclear if she has done so.

Nigeria is listed as a “high-risk” country by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which forces athletes to submit to three out-of-competition drug tests within 10 months before a major championship. Ten track and field athletes from the country were disqualified from the Games earlier this week, too, because they didn’t meet the minimum requirements.

The 100m final is the final race of the night on Saturday. Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is widely considered the favorite, as she won her prelim heat in 10.84. Her teammate, Elaine Thompson-Herah, won her respective heat slightly faster at 10.82.

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