A statement on Wednesday from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping – revealed that a total of 18 athletes have been declared ineligible to compete.
Nigeria is the most affected country, not meeting the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes.
The AIU explained that under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective
The AIU rule sets out minimum requirements for testing for the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations said to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.
The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than three weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major olympic event. Only then will they be able and eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.
For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.
“National Federations must play their part in supporting anti-doping efforts. The eligibility rules for athletes from ‘Category A’ countries are very clear and compliance is essential for cementing the required long-term changes and ensuring a level playing field for clean athletes,” said David Howman, Chair of the AIU Board
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, which has been plunged into needless crises in the last 14 months is, thus, highly culpable in this development.
Nigeria was included in Category A at the start of 2020 following a continued period of weak domestic testing levels at the competition.