Tokyo Olympics: Team Nigeria Denied Access To Games Village As Athletes Rush To Register For Track Event
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By Agency Report
The hope of Team Nigeria picking a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo may look far in coming as the athletes have been reportedly denied access to the Games Village even as they are now racing against time to register ahead of Friday’s commencement of track and field events, Bestchoicesport.com.ng understands.
The track and field events are due to start on Friday but reports indicate that Nigeria sprinters, apart from a few, are yet to enter their names in the register.
The Punch reports that several Nigerian athletes in Japan have not been granted access to the Olympics Games Village due to their inability to meet the mandatory out-of-competition tests required by the Athletics Integrity Unit.
The AIU requires that all athletes representing the country at the Olympic Games “are adequately tested in the lead-up to the event.”
By this, all athletes are expected to have taken three out-of-competition tests before the commencement of the event.
While Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, who fall under the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System, have been cleared for the competition, many other athletes who are already in Japan are yet to meet this requirement.
Some of these athletes have only one or two tests done, while some are yet to have any done.
To ensure they are eligible to compete at the Olympics, our correspondent gathered that last-minute plans were being made to ensure they were tested before the athletics events, which begin on Friday.
One of the requirements for athletes to be admitted into the Games Village is the provision of evidence out-of-competitions tests, which has thus led to some of Team Nigeria’s athletes inability to access the village.
One of the athletes in this category – yet to have any test done – is US-based Chioma Onyekwere, who is representing Nigeria in the discus event.
According to Chioma’s sister, Pat Onyekwere, the discus thrower was abandoned in a hotel by the Nigerian authorities after telling her she will be tested on Sunday.
“It’s been almost three days and she (Chioma) has been placed in a hotel away from everyone else in Team Nigeria, outside of the Olympics village, not because of COVID-19, but because you all are too lazy to put her on a list to get tested.
“Chioma Onyekwere is not in the Olympics village because you have refused to start the process of testing her. She works for Ford and is in the top 16 and can make it to the finals,” Pat Onyekwere wrote on Facebook on Monday.
“You lied and told her she would be tested on Sunday; put her in a bus for several hours away from her teammates not to be tested. They told her she will get tested today (Monday) no matter what and still you did not test her. Chioma may be in Toyko and can’t do anything about this, but the rest of us can ask news journalists in Nigeria and abroad to report on your incompetence.
“Three days of not getting someone tested that has been begging you for it. To just put her on the list so she can enter the Olympic Village and compete and train but instead you leave her out by herself in the cold. Why are you doing this to her? Have you no sense of urgency, kindness, and competence to do your job.
It was also gathered that three out of the athletes in Japan for the Olympics were not registered for any event.
The three athletes are Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless and Ifeanyi Ojeli.
Team NIgeria is yet to make any appreciable impact in the 5-day old competition.