Grace Nwokocha Found Guilty Of Doping At Commonwealth Games

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Nigerian sprinter Grace Nwokocha has been served a three-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after being found guilty of a doping violation.

Nwokocha tested positive for two anabolic agents, ostarine and ligandrol, from a sample collected on August 3, 2022, following her Nigerian team winning the 4x100m relay at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Both ostarine and ligandrol are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for their performance-enhancing effects. Both substances are known for their strength and muscle-building features. 

Nwokocha began serving a provisional suspension on August 21, 2022, which was made public on September 2, 2023. Following a case resolution agreement on July 24, 2023, Nwokocha accepted her three-year ban. Her period of ineligibility will run until August 2, 2025. 

After admitting to the doping violation and accepting her sanction, Nwokocha was stripped of any medals, records, and prizes from any competition after August 3, 2022. This includes her Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 4x100m.

Joy Udo-Gabriel, Favour Ofili, and Rosemary Chukwuma, her teammates in the winning 4x100m, will also be disqualified as a result of Nwokocha’s sanction. 

Prior to her doping violation, Nwokocha was the first Nigerian athlete to qualify for the Toyko Olympic Games in the 100m after posting a personal best time of 11.09.

Attending North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCAT), she placed sixth in the 2022 NCAA Championships in both the 100m and the 200m. In 2022, she also reached the 100m and 200m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Nwokocha’s sanction reinforces the increase in doping violations brought to light from African countries. The surge in incidents raises concerns that go beyond just the athlete in question.

A growing wealth of information about pervasive corruption in governing bodies, athlete personnel, and healthcare systems across Africa has been coming to light.

Other doping cases, such as with Titus Ekiru, demonstrate the corrupt nature at multiple levels more clearly. Ekiru was served a ten-year doping ban after multiple positive doping tests and forging medical documents after colluding with a high-ranking Kenyan doctor.

The tarnishing reputations of African countries forces us to acknowledge how deep rooted these issues lie. Research suggests a complex web of poverty and misinformation are the underlying causes to the major corruption that we are beginning to see in Africa.

With her doping sanction, Nwokocha’s meteoric rise in the sprinting world has come to a halt. The sanction takes away her hopes of returning to the Olympics next year in Paris and being a potential medalist; this is also a blow to Nigeria’s sprint squad.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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