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Ex-NCAA sprint champ Oduduru gets 6-year ban

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Ex-NCAA sprint champ Oduduru gets 6-year ban

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Four-time NCAA champion sprinter Divine Oduduru received a six-year ban for his role in a case first pursued by U.S. authorities under a law designed to combat widespread doping schemes across the globe.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases in track and field, said Thursday a disciplinary panel had found the Nigerian sprinter guilty of possession and use or attempted use of multiple prohibited substances in the leadup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The AIU said there were aggravated circumstances that called for adding two years to the original four-year ban. The ban for the 27-year-old runs through February 2029.

The case stemmed from a criminal investigation into “naturopathic” therapist Eric Lira, who earlier this year became the first person to plead guilty under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, which was enacted to pursue widespread doping crimes.

The AIU said Oduduru was the sprinter labeled “Athlete 2” in the complaint against Lira, who pleaded guilty for his role in providing athletes with performance-enhancing substances. “Athlete 1” was Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, who is serving an 11-year ban.

“To procure those substances, (Oduduru) engaged into a scheme with his teammate who in her turn was procuring those substances on his behalf from a person who was illegally bringing them to US in order to distribute among athletes with the aim to improve their sport performance,” the decision from the AIU panel read. “The panel considers this behavior to be particularly serious.”

Running for Texas Tech, Oduduru swept the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints at NCAA championships in 2019. He won the 200 meters in 2018 and the 200 at the NCAA indoor championships the same year. He has competed at the last two Summer Olympics but failed to make a final.

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