Nigeria's camp in Berlin 2009 - one scandal too many

The news this week that Nigeria's up and coming 400m hurdles prodigy, Amaka Ogoegbunam has tested positive for steroids came as a rude shock to me. Worse still, she's the third athlete in the Nigerian camp tainted with a drug episode in a matter of weeks.

Vivian Chukwuemeka, 2002 Commonwealth Games Shot put gold medallist, and 100m runner Gloria Kemasuode has already been sent packing from the camp in Berlin for returning positive A samples at the Nigerian trias in Abuja last month.

Similarly, Amaka was also reported to have tested positive for the same performance-enhancing anabolic steroid 'Metonolone' the others were busted for during the African junior championships in Bambous end of July.

Another issue in camp in Berlin is that most of the athletes have not been paid their allowances, despite the fact that they have been short-changed by four days already.

The athletes were supposed to be paid $100 each daily from the day they entered the Camp, but that was readjusted to start from the eve of the championships conveniently knocking off four days from their entitlement. So who gets to keep balance?

Then there is the small matter of crisis of confidence in the team, as many as five athletes did not show up for their races in Berlin.

Some athletes pulled out because of injury, due to overtraining by the new American coaches i hear, while one of the coaches blamed the athletes for their stubborness; Others like Ajoke Odumosu and Blessing Okagbare got worse medical situations, others athletes complained of inadequate information that they have been entered for those events in the first place. Now the team is struggling to put together a team to prosecuted the relay races.

So what's really happening in the Nigerian camp? Why are our athletes failing drugs test? Could these athletes have used the substances unknowingly? or as Chukwuemeka claimed, sabotaged?

I am not sure all the athletes know the composition and make-up of supplements they used and ignorantly or stupidly most use these supplements without checking with the medical team to know the composition.

Does the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) have a doping officer? if yes, did he organise a session to educate these athletes before the National trials on the need to register supplements and medications they are using with him in order to verify and cross-check it with the WADA list of banned substances.

The Technical Director of the AFN was reported in the local media to have said he was not surprised as "most of the top athletes that won medals at the last National Sports Festival in Kaduna tested positive to banned drugs".

Now, for an official of the federation to say that about his own athletes you will wonder, who is in charge here? Are our athletes well advised at all? Are these athletes well managed or they are just left at their own whims and caprices, then blamed when they go astray, innocently, ignorantly or other wise?

Meanwhile, Vivian Chukwuemeka has vowed to contest the report, as she said she had never used drugs to enhance her performance before.

"I am going to contest the dope report even if no one is giving me the chance for me to defend myself. There were discrepancies in the dope report.

"That gives me a legitimate ground to contest it. I have the IAAF letter and details of how my urine sample number was swapped with that of Gloria (Kemasuode)," observed the former 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games shot Put gold medalist."

So what do you think? Can we honestly blame these athletes for not making any finals yet? let alone win medals? have your say below!

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