Doping: Okagbare’s therapist jailed for three months

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A rather shocking one for Nigeria athletics fans as Texas-based Eric Lira has been sentenced to three months in prison, one year of supervised release and forfeiture of $16,410 (€15,113), OwoSports.com.ng reports.

Lira admitted supplying performance-enhancing substances to athletes, including Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare,who has been banned from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The sentence was handed down on Wednesday after Lira himself pleaded guilty to supplying drugs to enhance the performance of Olympic athletes, including the suspended Nigerian athlete Okagbare, according to reports by the US authorities and the AFP news agency.
Eric Lira is a “naturopathic” therapist based in El Paso, Texas. In May 2023, he became the first person to be convicted under a US law introduced in the wake of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping scandals.
The 2020 Act is named after Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov. It allows US authorities to prosecute individuals involved in international doping fraud conspiracies.
Lira admitted supplying Okagbare with drugs in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Nigerian athlete was pulled out of the women’s 100m semi-finals shortly before the Games after it emerged she had tested positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test in Slovakia before the Games. She was subsequently banned from sport for 10 years.

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