Two more Kenyan athletes suspended over doping

Tuesday July 9 2019

Kenya's Joyce Chepkirui celebrates winning the final of the women's 10,000m athletics event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on July 29, 2014. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |

Kenya's Joyce Chepkirui celebrates winning the final of the women's 10,000m athletics event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on July 29, 2014. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth and Africa 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui and long distance runner John Jacob Kibet Kendagor are the latest Kenyans to be suspended for doping offences.

Chepkirui, who also won the Amsterdam and Honolulu marathons in 2015 besides finishing 10th in Boston Marathon the same year, has been suspend by Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) after some discrepancy in her Athletes Biological Passport (ABP).

Chepkirui, the 2011 African Games 1,500m silver medallist and 2012 Africa Cross Country senior women champion, has not competed this year.

Chepkirui, who grew up in the then Buret District of the Rift Valley Province, made her first international appearance at the 2007 African Junior Athletics Championships, where she came fifth in the 1,500 metres.

The 30-year-old made her debut in the half marathon in Benidorm that November and finished second. She tried the 3,000 metres steeplechase in 2008, but managed only a fifth place finish at the national junior championships.

She changed her focus to road races the following year. She travelled to Spain and had top five finishes in a number of races, highlighted by a win in Almodóvar del Río with a time of 1:11:47 hours. At the end of the year, she placed fourth in the 15K at Kenya's Baringo Half Marathon.

Kendagor, who finished sixth at 2017 Seoul Marathon before settling second in Hamburg and Istanbul marathons the same year, has been reprimanded for "evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection."

Kendagor competed last in Istanbul Marathon in November last year, finishing fifth.

“All dopers must be smoked out until the sport is clean. There is no other solution or alternative to running clean,” said Athletics Kenya committee member Barnaba Korir while welcoming the ban.

AK has already moved to bar any Kenyan athlete who has doped from representing the country again.

It now brings to 12 the number of Kenyan elite athletes that AIU has either suspended or banned for doping offences this year.

TESTED POSITIVE

Just a fortnight ago, AIU suspended Kenyan long-distance runner Salome Jerono Biwott. Biwott, 36, has provisionally been suspended for having tested positive for prohibited Norandrosterone.

Biwott, who was first hit with a two-year ban in 2013 when she failed a doping testing after winning the 2012 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, is fresh from finishing second at Sao Paulo International Marathon in 2 hours, 37 minutes and 33 seconds on April 7, this year.

In fact, Biwott ran a personal best 2:30:47 for second place at the Hannover Marathon on April 10, 2016 only a few months after having completed her two-year ban. She is now likely to get another four-year ban if found guilty, four years after completing the other doping ban.

Biwott becomes the fourth Kenyan to be suspended for doping within two months after World Half Marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum, 2017 World Champions 5,000m representative Cyrus Rutto and Felix Krwa were sanctioned.

Rutto and Kiptum were suspended on April 4 and 26 respectively after anomalies were found on their Athletes Blood Passport while Kirwa’s suspension came on June 11 for taking prohibited Strychnine.

Others are 2017 Tokyo Marathon champion Sarah Chepchirchir, former three-time World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, Hilary Kepkosgei Yego, Samson Mungai Kagia, Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong and Lucy Kabuu.

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