— Published 13 January 2022

Texan charged with supplying doping products

A new doping case in athletics. The US justice system revealed on Wednesday 12 January that it had charged a therapist based in El Paso, Texas, with supplying doping products to at least two athletes before the Tokyo Games. Eric Lira, 41, was charged under the new “Rodchenkov Act”, named after the former Russian whistleblower, which allows the US justice system to prosecute and punish anyone involved in a doping case, regardless of nationality, if the facts involve a US citizen. The indictment alleges that Eric Lira obtained doping products, including EPO and growth hormones, from South and Central America and distributed them to athletes prior to the Tokyo Games. The athletes in question are not named, but there are indications that one of them was Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (pictured above, centre). The 33-year-old sprinter tested positive for growth hormone last summer in Tokyo and was barred from competing just hours before the start of the 100m event. US authorities gained access to her mobile phone on her way back to the US and discovered that she had been communicating with Eric Lira using an encrypted application.