By Sedara Philip
A Texas therapist faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty on Monday to supplying performance-enhancing drugs to Olympic athletes including banned Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare, US authorities said.
Eric Lira, a “naturopathic” therapist based in the city of El Paso, is the first individual to be convicted under a new US law introduced in the wake of Russia’s state-backed Olympic doping scandals, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Lira was found to have supplied drugs to Okagbare in the build-up to the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Okagbare, who was subsequently banned from the sport for 10 years, was expelled from the Tokyo Olympics just before the women’s 100m semi-finals after it emerged she had tested positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test in Slovakia before the games