Former Texas Tech Star Divine Oduduru Provisionally Suspended by Anti-Doping Authorities after FBI Investigation
February 9, 2023
Divine Oduduru, the Nigerian sprinter who led Texas Tech to the 2019 NCAA outdoor track & field title by winning the 100 and 200 in personal bests of 9.86 and 19.73, was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Thursday and could be facing a ban of up to six years for multiple anti-doping rule violations. The AIU believes Oduduru is the previously unknown “Athlete-2” mentioned in the FBI’s historic charges against former UTEP sprinter Eric Lira — the first person charged under The Rodchenkov Act. The Rodchenkov Act, passed in 2020 by Congress, makes it illegal for anyone — other than an athlete — to participate in a scheme to affect the outcome of a major international sporting event via the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Lira, 42, was charged with one count of international sports doping for providing performance-enhancing drugs, including HGH and EPO, to athletes who competed or intended to compete at the 2020 Olympics.
The AIU has provisionally suspended Divine Oduduru (Nigeria) for possession/use or attempted use of a Prohibited Substance.
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) February 9, 2023
“Athlete-2” was not identified by the FBI in its complaint against Lira made public in January 2022, but an individual assisting the investigation found what appeared to be HGH, insulin growth factor, and EPO at their residence. The AIU today wrote that “based on the information in the complaint, including text conversations imaged from [Blessing] Okagbare’s mobile phone by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and further evidence obtained from the AIU investigation, the AIU alleges that Oduduru is ‘Athlete 2’ identified in the complaint. As the process is ongoing, the AIU will make no further comment on the matter at this time.”
Former UTEP sprinter Blessing Okagbare — who, like Oduduru, is Nigerian — had already been suspended and ID’d as Athlete-1 by the AIU. Additionally, she tested positive for EPO in June 2021 and tested positive for HGH at the Tokyo Olympics.
Both Okagbare and Oduduru were part of the Tumbleweed Track Club coached by Rana Reider, as were many of the top sprinters in the world, including Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse, 2022 Worlds 100m silver and bronze medalists Trayvon Bromell and Marvin Bracy-Williams, 2016 Olympic 110 hurdles champion Omar McLeod, former Jamaican 100m champion Tyquendo Tracey, and Adam Gemili, the first Brit to break both 10 in the 100 and 20 in the 200. It remains to be seen what fallout, if any, today’s developments will have on the team.
Separately, Reider is currently under investigation by the U.S. Center for SafeSport regarding sexual misconduct and is currently not allowed to coach anyone unless supervised by another adult according to the BBC. A number of prominent athletes have already left his group. Tracey left in early 2021, while McLeod switched coaches to Petros Kyprianou in February 2022 and now appears to be back training at the University of Arkansas. Gemili left the group in August 2022. And De Grasse is now based in Orlando under coach John Coghlan after leaving Reider at the end of 2022. Bromell and Bracy-Williams remain part of Reider’s group.
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