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Kenyan marathon runner Kalalei suspended

August 09, 2018

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NAIROBI: Kenyan marathon runner Samuel Kalalei has tested positive for EPO, another athlete from the East African nation to be suspended for doping.

Kalalei’s positive test was announced on Tuesday by the Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases for the IAAF.

Kalalei has been provisionally suspended from all competition. The 23-year-old Kalalei won the Athens Marathon in November.

He is the second Kenyan doping case to be confirmed by the AIU in the last week after former Commonwealth Games 10,000-metre champion Lucy Wangui was suspended for a positive test for morphine.

Another athlete, sprinter Boniface Mweresa, was dropped from the Kenyan team for the recent African championships in Nigeria for allegedly failing a doping test, although Kenyan authorities haven’t released details of that case.

Kalalei’s suspension is yet another blow to the reputation of Kenya. The world’s leading distance-running country has seen doping cases involving its athletes mount since the 2012 London Olympics.

One of Kenya’s top athletes, three-time 1,500-metre world champion Asbel Kiprop, was suspended for a positive test for EPO in February. Kiprop’s case has been referred to a disciplinary tribunal and he faces a four-year ban.

Ruth Jebet, the Kenya-born runner who now competes for Bahrain and is the reigning Olympic champion in the 3,000 steeplechase, was also suspended for EPO in February. Jebet is just 21.

Other recent high-profile Kenyan doping cases include Olympic women’s marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, who has been banned until 2021 for using EPO. Sumgong faces a second case at the AIU for allegedly tampering with a doping sample.

Another top marathon runner, Rita Jeptoo, was also banned for four years for EPO. Jeptoo was the leader of the marathon world series when she failed an out-of-competition test in Kenya in late 2014.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018