Athletes From 16 Countries Accused of Cheating by Investigators at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/09/2021, 6:15 AM EDT


After two weeks of intense competition, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 drew to a close on Sunday, August 8. In a lively closing ceremony, over 200 nations bid adieu to Tokyo as the focus shifts to Paris in three years’ time.

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During the last two weeks, the Games produced moments of sheer brilliance. However, no sporting event on the planet goes by without suffering controversy, and the Tokyo Olympics were no exception. While some athletes created controversy after arriving in Tokyo, some took a questionable road to get to the Games this year.

After the Games, World Athletic Investigators identified 16 athletes who manipulated qualification criteria to take part in Tokyo.

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Athletics Integrity Unit banned eight athletes for cheating to qualify for Tokyo Olympics 2020

All athletes who qualify at the Games need to qualify events before the global sporting spectacle. Although athletes cleared the criteria in place, some of them manipulated various aspects that form these criteria.

This includes infringements such as shortening courses, the use of unauthorised field equipment and illegal use of pacemakers. In addition, they also include manipulation of finishing times and photo finishes. Out of the 16 athletes who manipulated qualification criteria, eight received bans.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Women’s 3000m Steeplechase – Round 1 – OLS – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Athletes in action in Heat 3 REUTERS/Phil Noble/File photo SEARCH “BEST OF THE TOKYO OLYMPICS” FOR ALL PICTURES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.

The chairperson of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), David Howman, issued a statement on the identifications of these athletes. As quoted by the Daily Mail, he said, “In preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, our team identified, analysed and investigated potential instances of competition manipulation.”

“Thanks to our investigations, World Athletics refused to recognise several questionable qualifying performances. The AIU will continue to investigate these matters to determine if any fraudulent conduct was involved.”

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Overall, the AIU identified 31 questionable qualifying performances

In their investigations, the AIU suspected 31 athletes from 16 countries over questionable qualifying performances.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Marathon – Sapporo Odori Park, Sapporo, Japan – August 8, 2021. General view of the athletes in action REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

However, Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare was the only case of cheating identified during the Games. She was disqualified from the women’s 100m semifinals for testing positive for a human growth hormone.

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Sanket Nair

614 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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