AFN to probe Aya over failed dope test


Anthony Nlebem

President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, says the federation will probe young high jumper David Aya, who failed a drugs test at last month’s World Athletics Junior Championships in Cali, Colombia.

Aya, representing Team Delta, posted 2.15m to win the men’s high jump gold of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival.

Reports say AFN officials are deliberately trying to sweep the matter under the carpet, but Okowa, in an interview with The PUNCH, stated that the federation investigating the causes and would make its position known.

“Yes, we just received the test result. David Aya is a youth athlete; it’s too early to start making comments, especially if the boy is not aware of what he took. The truth is, an athlete is responsible for whatever thing he took and it’s not a federation obligation,” Okowa said.

“We can’t say anything about that now, especially with my position as AFN president, but we will write to World Athletics to further know what it’s about before we can make an official statement as regards that.

“It’s a urine test, so we need to carry out our investigations. We need to find out other things like how and when did it happen, or whether he got it medically or from food or drink. These are the things we need to confirm.”

The AFN boss also hinted that the body was continually educating the athletes against taking banned substances and insists those caught doping would be sanctioned.

Okowa added, “We’ve been taking measures to educate our athletes and conducting seminars to sensitise the athletes ahead of competitions, but sometimes some of them take these things, we just have to be careful. “It’s all about sensitisation and we have been doing that. We are not taking anything for granted, that is why we always test them during and after a competition.

“Athletes that fail drugs tests will be banned; we will support any sanctions World Athletics impose on them.”