August, 18 2023.
Nigeria's first and only World Champion ever in athletics, Oluwatobi Amusan has had her provisional doping suspension lifted with immediate effect by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU); www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
Amusan, the reigning women's 100 metres hurdles champion got cleared on Thursday, after appearing before an AIU panel to plead her innocence, following a charge of three "whereabouts failures", within twelve calendar months.
The disciplinary panel which heard her appeal, returned a majority decision and concluded that the world record holder in 100 meters hurdles did not violate any anti-doping rules.
The AIU provisionally suspended Amusan last month, and under World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, the applicable sanction for three whereabouts failures is two years ineligibility.
The 26-year-old Amusan became the first Nigerian world champion and world record holder in an athletics event with her 2022 victory in Eugene, Oregon, USA where she ran a time of 12.12 seconds in the semifinals before winning the Gold medal with an improved timing of 12:06 Secs, which was chalked-off because of excessive tail wind.
The ruling, which comes a couple of days to the commencement of the World Athletics Championships, effectively cleared Amusan the Poster Girl of Nigeria's track and field for the championships scheduled for August 19-28 in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.
The Ogun State-born, while announcing her provosional suspension by the AIU on her Facebook page and other social media handles, insisted she was a clean athlete and was sure of having the charges against her resolved in her favour on an appeal.
It's however unclear why the hearing was delayed for close to four weeks, during which her ranking reclined from No. 3 to No. 13 in the world.
There was also a back and forth with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the hurdler, who was initially backed by AFN President Chief Tonobox Okowa and Technical Director, Samuel Onitekun before she was dropped from the list of Team Nigeria athletes to the championship, only to be reinstated by the Budapest Organisers with a provision that she must first clear her name before being allowed to defend her title.
This clearance also provides Amusan with the opportunity to defend the only title in her checkered career, that she has yet to defend. It follows her successful retention of her Nigerian national title, African Championships and African Games gold medals, as well as Commonwealth Games, and Diamond League titles.
Reports indicate that Amusan was left off the hook by a tribunal of three arbitrators, after she and her lawyers successfully argued that the tester assigned to her did not make sufficient efforts to locate her.
Notably, throughout this process, Amusan consistently maintained her innocence and said “I have faith that this will be resolved in my favour and that I will be competing at the World Championships in August”.