One of Nigeria’s foremost sports medicine practitioners Dr Akinwunmi Amao has been named as the chief anti-doping officer for next month’s fourth Okpekpe International 10-km road race in Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo state.

Dr Amao, formerly head of the Medical Unit of the Ministry of Sports will be in-charge of doping control at the race that will be conducted in accordance with the IAAF Anti-Doping Regulations.

 “The organisers of the Okpekpe international 10km road race is delighted to announce that veteran sports medicine practitioner, Dr Akin Amao who is also the head/chairman of the Medical and Scientific Commission of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) will be the head of the anti-doping unit for the race,” said Dare Esan spokesman for the event who revealed the reason for the choice.

“Doping issues are taking very seriously by the IAAF following recent damaging revelations and as a recognised stakeholder in the athletics family, it is our responsibility to align with the IAAF in the fight for a dope free sport hence our decision to look for a man of honour and integrity to be at the head of the anti-doping unit for the race in Okpekpe,” explained Esan who further revealed that Dr Amao’s name has already been sent to the IAAF.

“We contacted the National Anti-Doping authority in Nigeria who recommended Dr Amao and we have sent his name to the IAAF as well as the kind of sampling materials (urine kits) that will be used with the expiry date and the mode of transporting it to the WADA-accredited laboratory outside Africa because the one in South Africa has been temporarily closed.

“This is really an important step in our drive to ensure credibility in the doping system because the name Dr Amao is synonymous with integrity. Performance-enhancing drugs and other substance abuse have been a constant blemish on the sport.

“We have also built a doping station at the finish area in Okpekpe where the doping control will take place,” Esan added.

As a bronze label race the IAAF regulations state that a minimum of four samples must be collected for mixed races (2 men and 2 women) while additional doping tests shall be conducted when a World and/or an Area Record is broken or equalled and upon request by any athlete who has broken a National Record although this will be at the athlete’s expense.

“We have insisted that that athletes must complete the authentic application forms with duly certified medical report before confirmation can be given for the race. Athletes with illnesses or conditions that require the use of medication listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List are advised to apply for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) with the relevant agency before coming for the race,” said Esan.