Former Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Sunday Adeleye, says African athletes are the targets of Athletics Integrity Unit’s “sledgehammer”, after world champion Tobi Amusan was suspended by the body on Wednesday for missing three out of competition tests in 12 months, The PUNCH reports.

The 26-year-old, who is one of the favourites for the 100m women’s hurdles event at the forthcoming 2023 World Athletics Championships, which holds from August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary, will miss out on the event if the AIU upholds her ban.

Following her suspension on Wednesday, Adeleye called on the Athletics Federation of Nigeria to come to her aid in her trying time.

“When it comes to Nigerian or African athletes, they (AIU) are always coming with a sledgehammer,” Adeleye told The PUNCH.

“We must stand with her (Amusan).  She did not test positive unlike other athletes did. We don’t have a strong federation and that is why these things are happening now.

“When Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for marijuana, the wife of the former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, Michelle, stood by her.

“Also the case of 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser isn’t different from this. She missed all three tests.  So, who is talking in Nigeria on her behalf?  Who is fighting for Tobi?

“She is the only world champion and world record holder Nigeria has and if the country allows the AIU to squeeze her and throw her under the carpet, that is all.  The World Championships is coming.  Do you think the US wants you to pick it? They don’t. So, that is it.”

Former Nigerian 100m record holder and two-time African champion, Seun Ogunkoya, also tasked the AFN to leap in defence of Amusan and ensure she features at the forthcoming World Championships.

“This is when AFN is needed most,” Ogunkoya said.

“I hope those who are saddled with the responsibility of governing athletics in the country will swing to action immediately and get our world record holder out of this predicament.”

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