Divine Oduduru is facing a six-year doping ban ©Getty Images

Divine Oduduru has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for possession and use of a banned substance after being named as the second athlete connected to disgraced therapist Brian Lira, after compatriot Blessing Okagbare.

The three-time African Games and three-time African Championships medallist has been linked to Texas-based "naturopathic" therapist, based on information into a criminal charge against Lira.

"Athlete 1" in this case was found to be sprint and long jump world medallist Blessing Okagbare, who has been given a 10-year ban.

Since then, Oduduru has been recognised as "Athlete 2".

The 26-year-old's links to Texas date back to 2017 when he joined Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, a five-hour drive to El Paso.

Okagbare, who effectively is serving a lifetime ban as she is unable to return to competition until she is 43, competed for the University of Texas at El Paso Miners in the same city where Lira was based.

Lira was charged under the Rodchenkov Act in the United States - which allows criminal charges to be brought against those found to have committed anti-doping rule violations - and faces up to 10 years in prison.

He communicated with the Olympians through encrypted messaging, supplying them with performance-enhancing drugs.

Divine Oduduru was linked to the doping case of Blessing Okagbare, pictured ©Getty Images
Divine Oduduru was linked to the doping case of Blessing Okagbare, pictured ©Getty Images

Oduduru faces one charge of possession and one related to the use of undisclosed prohibited substances, according to the AIU, after being identified through text messages with Okagbare, which were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, allowed by the Rodchenkov Act.

His suspension is related to Lira's criminal charge from January 2022 after Okagbare was provisionally suspended at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, ruling her out of the semi-finals of the women's 100 metres after winning the heat.

She had tested positive for a human growth hormone.

In February 2022, the now 34-year-old was handed a 11-year suspension for "multiple breaches of anti-doping rules".

The Rodchenkov Act was named after Grigory Rodchenkov, who led Russia's state-sponsored doping programme before turning whistleblower, eventually leading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport's two-year sanction on the nation, which expired in December 2022.

Oduduru once held the world lead during the 2019 season when he ran a personal best of 9.86 seconds in the men's 100 metres in Austin and broke the national record the same day in the 200m in a time of 19.73 to win both National Collegiate Athletic Association titles, as well as the 4x100m relay gold.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Oduduru was disqualified in the heats of the men's 100m for a false start, before narrowly missing the final of the men's 200m.