Some Nigerian track and field athletes will not compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games because an official made a mistake. The officials were trying to punish the Nigerian team for missing drug tests but they accidentally punished a different team. Now, most of Nigeria’s track and field team will not be able to compete.
Nigerian athletes protested at the Olympic village. They were trying to get a better job there.
Ten Nigerian athletes who had already made it to the Olympics were suspended because they did not pass their doping controls.
Track and field athletes who qualified for Tokyo 2020 had to take three tests in the months before the tournament. The Nigerian Athletics Federation took tests from its athletes training in America, but they were not allowed because of rules against it.
When the athletes were suspended, the federation said they were substitutes or students.
The athletes staged a protest in the Olympic village. They came out with signs and one had “we are not substitutes, but potential medalists”. Among the suspended athletes were record holders.
- Ruth Usoro – African record in the triple jump indoors.
- Favourite Ofili – African record in the women’s 200m indoors.
- Annette Echikunwok – African record in the women’s hammer throw.
- Chidi Okezie – African bronze medallist in the men’s 400m.
The independent athletics team thinks that Nigeria is the hardest hit country for failing to meet the minimum testing requirements.
What the athletes themselves say
On my 25th birthday, I found out that I could not compete at the Tokyo Olympics. It was because of something that happened to me and it is my fault. But it feels like a bad dream to me.
Annette Echikunwoke, an African record holder in the hammer throw, said she thought of all the hours of training and how her body was in pain. But she continued to go because she said it was worth it. Now she just feels frustrated.