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Birmingham 2022: FG orders complete testing of athletes to avoid scandal

THE Federal Government has directed all relevant authorities to ensure that the necessary tests are carried out on all the athletes before their departure for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom in July.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, gave the directive yesterday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja during a meeting held with the stakeholders of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Dare warned that Nigeria will not hesitate to drop any athlete who attempts to tarnish the image of the country again after the scandal that marred the country’s participation at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

In Tokyo, 10 Nigerian athletes were disqualified by World Athletics after failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.

The country’s highest-profile athlete Blessing Okagbare was also suspended for failing a drug test and prevented from participating in the women’s 100m semi-finals after she had won her heat.

The minister said that the countdown to the Commonwealth Games has already started, 60 days to the event.

He added that the ministry is already working with the Nigerian Olympic Committee to ensure that the contingent’s accommodation, camping, testing, ticketing and kits are adequately taken care of.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, stated that Nigeria will participate in nine sports at the Games.

Nigeria will be fielding 100 athletes in judo, athletics, boxing, weightlifting, table tennis, wrestling, para-table tennis, para-athletics and para-powerlifting

Nigerian Olympic Committee President, Habu Gumel, stated that accreditation is ongoing, adding that 14 media houses and 701 journalists applied to cover the games.

The Director, Federation Elite and Athletes Department/Chef de Mission, Dr. Simon Ebhojaiye, noted that the official phase of camping will commence from May 30 to June 30 and July 2 to July 21 respectively.

He explained that the Birmingham Games Village will be officially opened on July 22 while the opening ceremony for the Games will be held on July 28.

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Naija Times