Olympics: UK athlete named in probe of disgraced US therapist: Report

AFP , Saturday 16 Dec 2023

A male British Olympic athlete is under investigation by anti-doping authorities after being mentioned in court papers linked to the case against US therapist Eric Lira, The Times has reported.

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare was banned after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Photo: AFP


The Athletics Integrity Unit is investigating the matter, according to the British newspaper.

Lira faces a jail sentence after pleading guilty to supplying performance-enhancing drugs to Olympians including Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare.

She was withdrawn hours before the Tokyo Olympics women's 100m semi-finals in 2021 after a positive test emerged and has since been banned.

In a submission said to have been made by Damian Williams, the attorney for the Southern District of New York, a competitor from the United Kingdom is listed as "Athlete 3" in the case.

That athlete is not identified. A Swiss athlete, again unidentified, is also referenced.

Okagbare is believed to be "Athlete 1".

The letter from Williams to the sentencing judge, which has also been seen by the BBC, states: "Athlete 1 was not the only Olympic competitor who received PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) from Lira.

"Lira separately met with a third Olympic athlete who competed on behalf of the United Kingdom (Athlete 3) multiple times in the summer of 2021 for the purpose of providing him with PEDs.

"In short, Lira travelled across the United States to deliver and/or administer various drugs to various Olympic athletes, all with the calculated aim of impacting the outcome of the Tokyo Olympics."

It adds: "The actual scope of Lira’s offence conduct stands in sharp contrast to his narrow admission of guilt in his sentencing submission.”

UK Athletics has declined to comment.

Lira is the first person to be charged under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, named after the Russian whistleblower and former anti-doping official Grigory Rodchenkov.

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