20 track and field athletes banned from Olympics after not meeting anti-doping testing rules

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Twenty track and field athletes, including 10 from Nigeria, will not compete at the Olympics after failing to meet anti-doping testing requirements, the Athletics Integrity Unit announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Nigeria is the country most impacted. Other countries included Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and Ukraine. The names of the banned athletes were not disclosed.

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  • The Athletics Integrity Unit runs the anti-doping program for the sport and requires athletes from countries categorized as “high doping risk” because of deficiencies in their testing programs.

  • The requirement states that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event.

Of note: For nearly three months during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, almost all drug-testing programs were suspended, which may have opened the door for athletes to engage in performance-enhancing drug use.

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