Here’s what you need to know about Blessing Okagbare, the FBI, Antidoping violations & her 10 year ban.
So Blessing was charged with 2 ADRV (this is the positive test results for EPO and HGH).
These drugs are strictly prohibited at all times and are classified as PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)
From 19 May 2021- 6 June 2021, she competed in intl competitions, where we can assume she was under strict doping control measures (testing in competition etc)
There were no positive test results for any of these dates
2nd June and 6th June 2021 she competed in 2 European meets, finishing 1st and 2nd
6th June 2021, BO was subjected to a urine test which was not tested for EPO, but was also negative for other PEDs
She participated in NG trials on 17 June 2021 and 19 June 2021- she ran 10.63 on 17 June 2021 (remember this)
18 June 2021, urine test which was not tested for EPO, negative for other PEDs
Sample 1 was collected on 20 June 2021 in Lagos- classified as out of competition
Between 6 July 2021 and 13 July 2021, BO competed in other intl competitions (100m and 200m respectively
Sample 2 was collected on 19 July 2021, which we can assume was collected in Slovakia (also out of competition)
30 July 2021- Sample 2 (that was collected on 19 July 2021) was analysed in a lab and tested positive for HGH, B sample was also analysed and confirmed positive
12 August 2021- Sample 1 (that was collected on 20 June 2021) was analysed in a lab and tested positive for EPO
BO passed all in competition tests
2 out of competition tests have tested positive for 2 separate PEDs.
On 20 Aug 2021, BO said the HGH was due to a number of factors:
-thyroid medication, heavy menstrual bleeding, treatment for fever, taking prenatal vitamins and contaminated food
If it was due to thyroid medication she would have had a TUE (therapeutic use exemption)
27 Aug 2021, BO denied use of EPO and could not explain how this entered her system (it’s important to note that EPO is typically injected into muscles like the thigh or buttocks)
So you know how it gets in your system…
15 Sep 2021- she was interviewed and formally stated she could not explain the prohibited substances
BO refused to hand over her phone for imaging and hand over passwords for the AIU investigation
The case gets interesting cause she’s also part of an ongoing FBI investigation
With a man named Eric Lira, who’s being charged under US anti doping violations concerning athletes, one which we can deduce is BO.
BO denied knowing Eric Lira, however when her phone was seized by US border agents on her return back from tokyo 2 Aug 2021- there were messages found via an encrypted app where BO messaged Eric Lira
One message to Lira on 22 June 2021 read: “Hola amigo / Eric my body feel so good / I just ran 10.63 in the 100m on Friday / with a 2.7 wind / I am sooooo happy / Ericccccccc / Whatever you did, is working so well.”
Let’s not forget BO ran 10.63 on 17 June 2021
He was also saved on her phone as “Eric Lira Doctor”
A package for HGH sent from Eric Lira was also found at her address
The FBI investigation revealed incriminating texts from BO to Lira,she asked for EPO and HGH. Querying drugs needed for herself and another athlete
13 June 2021- BO confirmed whether she should take a test after her dosage, but mentioned as she wasn’t sure, she let the DCOs go so it will be recorded as a missed test (athletes are allowed 3 missed tests in a 12 month period). ADAMS data confirmed that there was a missed test
against her on this date.
So I took 2000ui of the E yesterday, is it safe to take a test this morning? LIRA replied, “Good day 2000 ui is a low dosage.” BO replied “Remember I took it Wednesday and then yesterday again I wasn’t sure so I didn’t take a test I just let them go so it will be a missed test.”
BO was microdosing- this is a technique where athletes take PEDs in small quantities to avoid detection but enough so the PEDs can work. It’s possible that a lot of athletes do this
Lira also wrote to BO
What you did . . . is going to help you for the upcoming events,” Lira wrote to Okagbare on July 19, when she was training in Slovakia before departing for Tokyo. “You are doing your part and you will be ready to dominate.”
So what is interesting to me, is someone tipped the FBI off, they found packages of HGH at her address and sent pics to the FBI. Which is what launched the FBI investigation.
We can assume that BO has been microdosing and evaded detection so far
10/12 tests BO underwent from 16 April 2021 to 30 July 2021 were negative, but it’s safe to say she was doping.
BO was also confused at her pos result for HGH cause she messaged Lira saying he should call her urgently as she’s confused
Why Blessing got a 10 year ban:
– 5 years for use of EPO and HGH
– 5 years for refusing to cooperate with the AIU investigation, (she did not hand over her phone) which would have implicated other athletes. & her lies and denial of involvement with Eric Lira
It’s reported that there was a Zelle payment for $2,500 from BO to Eric Lira for EPO, that the AIU got hold of.
Final thoughts (from me):
BO was part of a sophisticated doping scandal that has been ongoing for a long time & had the FBI not been tipped off she probably would have gotten away with it.
She’s probably not the only doping athlete, she just got caught
Whilst her athletics career has ended in disgrace, she is still a multi talented athlete (long jump, 100m, 200m 4x100m) and has been competing on the intl scene 2006 and she is arguably Africa’s most decorated female athlete.
Written By @jlaplusbelle [Twitter]