Blessing Okagbare has reportedly been banned from appearing at next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by Nigeria following a row over her appearance at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich last week.

The 26-year-old sprinter and long jumper was a late withdrawal from the 200 metres at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Beijing last month, reportedly due to a hamstring injury, and she also did not travel to Brazzaville for the All-Africa Games currently underway.

Okagbare did compete, however, in Zurich on Thursday (Septemer 3), finishing second in the 100m with a time of 10.98sec.

This decision appears to have angered Nigeria's National Sports Commission (NSC) with its Director General Al Hassan Yakmu telling the country's Guardian newspaper: "I was shocked when I saw Okagbare competing in the Diamond League in Zurich last Thursday.

"I was wondering if it was the same Okagbare who refused to compete for Nigeria in the 200m event at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing.

"She even opted out of Team Nigeria for the All-Africa Games in Congo.


He added: “I have said it times without number that any athlete who feels too big to compete for Nigeria in the All-Africa Games should not bother about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"No athlete is bigger than Nigeria.

"I played volleyball for this country, so there is nothing an athlete will tell me about sports.

“Tell me what countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa is doing for their athletes that Nigeria is not doing?

"If there is a problem, we should sit down to iron it out, instead of rubbishing our country before the international community.

"We have to take a stand to save our nation from athletes who feel they are untouchable."

Okagbare, who has yet to comment on the supposed ban, won an Olympic long jump bronze medal at Beijing 2008.

She won the 100m and 200m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and claimed World Championship silver in the long jump and bronze in the 200m at Moscow 2013.