Nigerian Sprinter Blessing Okagbare Out of Tokyo Olympics After Testing Positive for HGH

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Blessing Okagbare
Blessing Okagbare

Ian MacNicol/Getty

Nigerian sprinter and 2008 Olympics long jump silver medalist Blessing Okagbare is out of the Tokyo Games after testing positive for human growth hormone, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has announced.

The organization issued a statement on Saturday, Tokyo time, that Okagbare, 32, had been provisionally suspended after an out-of-competition sample collected from her on July 19 tested positive for the banned substance.

"Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and a provisional suspension is mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules," the unit said in a press release.

Okagbare was notified of the test results and her provision suspension in Saturday morning in Tokyo, hours before she was due to compete in the semi-finals of the women's 100m race, according to officials.

The runner, who qualified for the event with a time of 11.05 seconds, will no longer be allowed to participate in race.

Blessing Okagbare
Blessing Okagbare

Cameron Spencer/Getty

Okagbare was also due to compete in the women's 200m as well as the 4x100m relay, but will be out of those as well.

When reached for comment by PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Olympic Committee called Okagbare's provisional suspension "disturbing news."

A representative for Okagbare did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

News of Okagbare's provisional suspension comes two days after the AIU announced that it has banned 20 athletes — including 10 from Nigeria — from participating in the Tokyo Olympics because they did not meet anti-doping testing requirements.

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The organization requires athletes from countries categorized as "being the highest doping risk to the sport under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules" to undergo at least three no-notice, out-of-competition tests in the 10 months leading up to a major event, according to a release on Wednesday.

The countries considered as the "highest doping risk" this year were Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

With the exception of Bahrain, at least one athlete from each of the seven nations did not meet the minimum testing requirements, the AIU said.

It's unclear if the banned athletes had already traveled to Tokyo to compete. The organization did not list the names of the athletes, though it noted that Kenya had replaced two of its athletes before submitting its entries to World Athletics.