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Kwara states position on banned Muritala’s presence at Benin — Sport — –

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• ‘We suspended coach over doping saga long ago’

Kwara State Sports Commission, yesterday, exonerated itself from any blame in the doping saga involving track and field coach, Hammid Muritala, who was banned by the Nigeria Anti-Doping Committee in 2021 for violating anti-rules rules.

Muritala was banned 10 years for admitting to aiding junior athlete, Fatimah Abdulazziz, in her dope scandal during the National Youth Games held in Ilorin, Kwara State. But he was reportedly seen coaching Kwara athletes at the AFN Golden League held in Benin City last Thursday.

Consequent upon the development, the AFN, at the weekend, suspended Kwara Athletics Association from its activities.

In a statement, the AFN said: “The action amounts to violation of Rule 2.9 of Athletics Anti-Doping Rules. The Kwara AA shall remain suspended, pending the outcome of further investigation.”

However, Chairman of Kwara State Sports Commission, Bolakale Mogaji, an ex-athlete, told The Guardian in a telephone conversation, yesterday, that his commission had suspended coach Muritala from all their events six months ago.

“We actually suspended the coach over six months ago after we got a letter from the Nigeria anti-doping committee,” he said.

Magaji was a former 100m and 200m runner, but later competed as a squash player for Kwara, when he sustained injury. He won gold and silver medals for Team Kwara at Rivers ‘88 and Lagos ‘89 editions of the National Sports Festival.

According to him, coach Muritala’s presence at last week’s AFN Golden League in Benin City was not authorised by Kwara Sports Commission.

“The team was supposed to leave for Benin City on June 14, but they left on June 12. When I got the information that they were already on their way, I called the driver, and during our conversation, I got to know that the secretary of Kwara Athletics Association was not there. Obviously, coach Muritala was inside the vehicle, which I released for the trip. When stories started coming from Benin City that coach Muritala was seen with Kwara athletes at the AFN Golden League, I queried the secretary.

I also queried the head coach of Kwara Sports Commission and another coach, who was part of the trip to Benin for their negligence.

“As a former athlete, I know the implications of associating with a coach, who is under ban. We actually took all necessary actions that were expected from us, as far as this issue is concerned. I have all the letters to that effect,” Magaji stated.

The Kwara Sports Commission boss is expected to address a world press conference today on the issue.

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