Director / Strategic Model Engagement
CINCINNATI – Former College of Cincinnati monitor and area standout Annette Echikunwoke was disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) following a testing protocol error by the African Federation of Nigeria (AFN).Echikunwoke, a first-time Olympian who celebrated her twenty fifth birthday on Thursday, was scheduled to compete within the hammer throw on Saturday, July 31 (Sunday, August 1 in Tokyo). She was deemed ineligible to compete as a result of the AFN didn’t meet the testing necessities outlined by the AIU. “I can not even start to clarify how heartbroken I’m,” Echikunwoke stated on Instagram. “It truthfully seems like a fever dream. To think about all of the hours of throwing classes, a whole bunch of laborious lifts, all of the moments when my physique aches in ache and reminding myself ‘it will be value it’, simply to maintain pushing on, sacrificing time with family members…. and all I am left with is that this sinking feeling within the pit of my abdomen.”Echikunwoke is at the moment a volunteer coach for the Bearcats and works for Empower, a nationwide promoting company primarily based in Cincinnati who has supported Echikunwoke by means of her journey to get to Tokyo and past. Empower had lately created an award-winning net collection round Echikunwoke, titled Grind Earlier than You Shine.”We’re all pleased with Annette and have her again,” stated Jim Value, CEO at Empower. “We admire her ardour, grit and dedication and know she’ll mud herself off and hit the sphere stronger than ever. We’ll proceed to assist her Olympic desires,” Value stated.The 2017 NCAA Indoor Champion within the weight throw was one in all 10 Nigerian athletes affected by the AIU’s ruling.
“TO BE CLEAR: The African Federation of Nigeria (AFN) didn’t undergo the processes to arrange correct testing for us athletes. They left us in the dead of night about this entire drug testing concern till the final minute the place we had been left helpless. We can’t let something like this occur once more to athletes, devastating desires and crushing alternatives.” – Annette Echikunwoke
Echikunwoke broke her personal African report and threw a private greatest within the hammer throw when she threw 75.49 meters on Could 22, 2021 in Tucson, Ariz. to satisfy the Olympic customary for the occasion. She went on to compete within the hammer occasion on the Nigerian nationwide trials, the place she completed in first with a 72.07 meter throw, profitable her first nationwide trials title and cementing her spot for Tokyo. She gained the 2017 NCAA Indoor Monitor and Subject title within the weight throw, turning into solely the fifth particular person nationwide champion in Bearcats historical past. “I’m deeply upset and saddened to see all of those athletes disadvantaged of their alternative to shine on the greatest stage of their sport,” head monitor and area coach Susan Seaton shared. “I hope this tragic occasion will lastly impact change inside the AFN and the Nigerian Olympic Committee, whose duty it’s to have the athletes entered in acceptable testing protocols. Annette is and can stay one of many high girls’s hammer throwers on this planet and I’m extraordinarily pleased with her and all she has completed.”
Observe Annette on Instagram.5 former UC student-athletes – Echikunwoke, Nate Fish, Vanessa Gilles, Lewis Johnson and Jordan Thompson – are in Tokyo for the Olympics. Gilles is enjoying soccer for Canada, Fish will coach third base for Israel, Johnson will broadcast the monitor and area competitors for NBC Sports activities and Thompson performs volleyball for the USA. Johnson is participating in his eleventh Olympic Video games whereas Echikunwoke, Fish, Gilles and Thompson had been making their first appearances.