Frustrated Nigerian athletes took to the streets of Tokyo on Friday to display their displeasure to the world following their disqualification from the Olympics taking place in the Japanese capital city.
Due to no fault of theirs, the 10 athletes were ruled out of participating in the track and field event because they did not undergo enough out-of-competition doping tests before the Games.
The Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics mandates high-risk countries (which Nigeria is classed under due to lax doping controls) to test their athletes at least three times in the months leading to major competitions.
However, the divided Athletics Federation of Nigeria did not perform its duties and of the 20 athletes across the world barred by the AIU for non-compliance, 10 were Nigerians.
The 10 affected athletes include Favour Ofili, Ruth Usoro, Rosemary Chukwuma, Knowledge Omovoh, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Yinka Ajayi.
The disqualified 10 are part of the 23 Team Nigeria athletes taken to the Games, and they staged a peaceful protest in Tokyo on Friday, the opening day of track and field events.
The athletes, decked in their Team Nigeria tracksuits, carried placards on which they expressed their grievances.
Their placards had hand-written inscriptions such as ‘All we wanted to do was compete’, ‘Why should we suffer because of someone else’s negligence, and ‘We’re not just alternates but potential medallists’, apparently referring to the sports ministry’s suggestion that the disqualified athletes were dispensable.