African Sport: 6 Kenyan Athletes Banned for Doping

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Doping has been a thorn in the flesh in Kenyan athletics. Upcoming and even established athletes have been banned for using prohibited substances. The athletes always plead their innocence and redirect the blame to their coaches or agents. Due to their success, Kenyan athletes are some of the most tested in the discipline. 

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In light of the rising number of cases, the government set up the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to deal with the issue. Additionally, it repealed the Anti-Doping Act in 2020 to align its policies with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In this article, we’ll list Kenyan athletes who’ve been provisionally suspended or active but were once banned or completely banned.

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Asbel Kiprop

In 2019, the former Olympic champion was handed a four-year ban after testing positive for Erythropoietin (EPO). Initially, he was barred from competing in 2017, a ban that lasted until February 2018. His B sample came back positive, after which a four-year ban was enforced. 

Throughout the case, Kiprop disputed the claims. He argued that his testers tampered with his samples and asked for money. Now that he’s served his time, Kiprop is planning on a comeback.

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Diana Kipkoyei

In 2022, Diana was given a six-year ban for testing positive for a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide (a corticosteroid). She was further punished for lying to anti-doping officials by presenting false documents and information about her use of the substance. Kipkoyei was also stripped of the Boston Marathon title she won in 2021.  

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Ferdinard Omanyala

Dubbed the fastest man in Africa, Ferdinand Omanyala served a 14-month suspension in 2017 after he returned positive tests for glucocorticoid betamethasone. Despite having completed his ban, he wasn’t able to represent Kenya in competitions until he qualified for the 2021 Olympics.

“I felt I was a victim of circumstance. I took a painkiller and turns out it had a steroid in it.” Omanyala told BBC Sport Africa.

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Marius Kipserem

In October 2022, Marius was handed a three-year ban for doping. He tested positive for using Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition exercise that found the substance in his urine sample. 

Initially, Kipserem was to be banned for four years but was handed a three-year ban after he admitted to the offence. In 2016, the athlete won the Rotterdam Marathon, and in 2019, finished second.  

Rhonex Kipruto

In May 2023, Rhonex Kipruto was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for using a banned substance. 

His Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP) showed inconsistencies traced back to 2018 that are linked with either doping or the use of dubious methods. The runner has denied the claims but is waiting for the AIU to make its decision. 

Kipruto won the bronze medal in the 10,000m race at the 2019 World Championships. He’s also won the Peachtree Road Race and the New York City Half Marathon

Rita Jeptoo

In 2016, Rita Jeptoo’s ban for using Erythropoietin (EPO) was doubled by two years after World Athletics, then IAAF successfully argued at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that her punishment was lenient. Initially, she served her ban from 2014 to 2016, but it ran until 2018. 

Jeptoo claimed that she inadvertently used the substance through medication she was prescribed after an accident. Like Dian Kipkoyei, Jeptoo was stripped of the Boston Marathon title she won in 2014. 

While Kenya’s reputation in athletics remains somewhat intact, it keeps flirting with the doping problem. In 2022, no fewer than 25 athletes were suspended for doping. It’ll take the athletes and the governing bodies to fight this menace, 

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