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AFN denies ban on Blessing Okagbare

09 September 2015, 15:57Israel Ojoko

Lagos - The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has described as outright falsehood media reports that Africa queen of the track and field Blessing Okagbare has been banned by the National Sports Commission (NSC) and AFN from participating in the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.

In a statement signed by a member of the board of AFN and head of Communication and Media Olukayode Thomas, he described the report as false.

“Why would a reporter report that Okagbare has been banned from the Rio Olympics and will not attribute such an important story to a staff of NSC or AFN? The story is not true.’’

Thomas revealed that Okagbare has not done anything that warrants the federation to ban her.

Also read: Okagbare attacks journalists over 200m fiasco

“Even if Okagbare has done something and we intend to punish her, the secretary General will first write her a letter inviting her to face disciplinary committee where she will defend herself against the allegation. After a fair hearing, the disciplinary committee will make a recommendation to the board, and the board will now decide.’’

Thomas said that as at today, AFN has not queried nor summoned her to appear before the disciplinary committee, so the ban story is figment of a reporter’s imagination.

He also argued the NSC headed by Mallam Alhassan Yakmut will not ban Okagbare without a fair hearing if she commits any offense.

‘’Okagbare has not done anything to warrant NSC to ban her, but even if she did, the Director General is former athlete and an astute administrator, he will follow due process’’ said Thomas.

It could be recalled that The Guardian quoted Director General of the National Sport Commission Mallam Alhassan Yakmut as saying “I was shocked when I saw Okagbare competing in the Diamond League in Zurich last Thursday. I was wondering if it was the same Okagbare who refused to compete for Nigeria in the 200m event at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China. She even opted out of Team Nigeria for the All Africa Games in Congo. Why? I have said it times without number that any athlete who feels too big to compete for Nigeria in the All Africa Games should not bother about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

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