Drug cheats that soiled Kenya’s image this year

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019 22:43 |
Asbel Kiprop, one of Kenyan athletes banned for doping offences in 2019. Photo/PD/FILE

Kenya is regarded an athletics powerhouse globally and top in Africa. However, that good record has been tarnished by doping where they rank first in Africa when it comes to cases reported and athletes banned.

Since the Athlete Biological Passport programme was started in 2012, 41 Kenyan athletes have been banned after being involved in doping-related cases. 

Russia, which was this month banned from international competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), leads the list of shame with 87 cases followed by India (42 cases) and then Kenya. 

Morocco (30) is second in Africa and fourth in the world. The United States has 17 cases while in Ethiopia, 12 have been reported.

In 2019, Kenya ends the year in third position after Russia and India, with the largest pool of athletes banned from international competition for doping, according to the latest report by Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Most abused substance

Between 2004 and August last year, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a WADA report published in September last year.

The most abused substance by Kenyan athletes is blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO). Others are Norandrosterone, Prednisone, Salbutamol and Steroids.

In 2019 alone, 15 Kenyan athletes were found to have cheated in efforts to rise to stardom in major international races with money being the motivating factor. All were banned for between two and four years.

The creme being marathoner Salome Biwott, 36, who was handed a punitive eight-year punishment, the highest in the history for a second offence, seven years after the first.

Shockingly, the youngest of the cheats was 17-year-old Angela Ndungwa Munguti. She was handed a four-year ban in November after testing positive for Norandrosterone.

The junior athlete was part of team Kenya to the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The case that had a lot of attention was that of three-time world and Olympics 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop for a doping violation that came into the limelight in 2018.

The case led to a series of social media meltdowns from Kiprop, who maintained his innocence, before being handed a four-year ban in 2019. 

Others caught cheating are Olympics marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong, African 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui, 2017 Tokyo Marathon champion Sarah Chepchirchir and former World Half Marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum.

Long distance runner John Jacob Kibet Kendagor was also suspended, alongside 5,000m runner Cyrus Rutto. 

Others in the list of shame are Hilary Kepkosgei Yego, Samson Mungai Kagia, Lucy Kabuu, and Felix Kirwa.

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