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Doping: Okagbare’s doctor gets three months jail term

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Texas-based Eric Lira admitted supplying performance-enhancing substances to athletes, including Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, who has been banned from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
He was sentenced to three months in prison, one year of supervised release and forfeiture of $16,410 (€15,113). This is the sentence handed down to American therapist Eric Lira for supplying doping substances to Olympic athletes.The sentence was handed down this Wednesday after Lira himself pleaded guilty to supplying drugs to enhance the performance of Olympic athletes, including the suspended Nigerian athlete Blessing Okagbare, according to reports by the US authorities and the AFP news agency.
Eric Lira is a “naturopathic” therapist based in El Paso, Texas. In May 2023, he became the first person to be convicted under a US law introduced in the wake of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping scandals.
The 2020 Act is named after Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov. It allows US authorities to prosecute individuals involved in international doping fraud conspiracies.
Lira admitted supplying Okagbare with drugs in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Nigerian athlete was pulled out of the women’s 100m semi-finals shortly before the Games after it emerged she had tested positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test in Slovakia before the Games. She was subsequently banned from sport for 10 years.
“Today’s sentence sends a clear message: Violating the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act carries serious consequences, including prison time. This message is especially important this year with the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “In addition to the prison term, Lira, 44, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $16,410,” Williams added. The maximum penalty for violating the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act is 10 years in prison.

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