Kenya's Asbel Kiprop shows his gold medal after winning the men's 1500m final at the World Athletics Championships in 2015. Former Olympic and three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya was banned for four years Saturday for testing positive for the blood-boosting drug EPO after his claim that urine samples might have been tampered with by disreputable doping control officers was rejected. Photo: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

NAIROBI – No fewer than 15 Kenyan athletes were caught and banned for doping in 2019. 

It is indeed a sorry state of affairs for the mid to long distance running powerhouse on the global stage, as Kenya also lay claim to the two fastest marathon runners in history. Eliud Kipchoge (35) holds the men’s marathon record with his 2:01:39 he ran in September 2018 at the Berlin Marathon.

Meanwhile, Brigid Kosgei (25) set a new world record in the women’s marathon which had stood for 16 years, when she clocked 2:14:04 in October.

Despite Kipchoge and Kosgei boasting clean records, doping appears to be a growing problem in Kenyan athletics.

Salome Biwott was handed an eight-year ban, for her second doping violation this year. The long distance runner was banned in June by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for testing positive for the prohibited substance Norandrosterone. Biwott had first received a two-year ban back in 2013. The latest ban will effectively end the career of the 36-year-old.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, a 17-year-old - whose identity has been withheld - received a four-year ban by the AIU for testing positive for the same substance (Norandrosterone) as Biwott.

Three-time world and Olympic champion in the men’s 1500m, Asbel Kiprop (30) was banned for four years for a doping violation dating back to 2018.

Michael Kibet (20) and Daniel Simiyu, both 5000m athletes, were prevented from competing at the World Athletics Championships in Doha for not meeting anti-doping requirements.

Jackline Wambui (19) and Linda Kageha (17), meanwhile, failed to take mandatory testosterone tests for female athletes - and were therefore denied the right to compete.

Other banned Kenyan athletes in 2019 include African 10 000m champion Joyce Chepkirui, 2017 Tokyo Marathon champion Sarah Chepchirchir, World Half Marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum, Olympic women’s marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong, 2018 Honolulu Marathon third-place finisher Vincent Yator. 

African News Agency (ANA)