13 September 2007

Kenya: Lifter Obiero Banned After Testing Positive

Nairobi — A top Kenyan weightlifter has been banned for two years after failing a dope test.

David Obiero was handed the sentence by the International Weightlifting Federation after testing positive for tamoxifen, an agent with anti-estrogenic activity which is among the prohibited substances in international sport.

The world weightlifting body has also fined the Kenya Weightlifting Federation $2,000 (Sh134,000) for the positive doping case.

Obiero, 37, who competed at the Algiers All Africa Games held in July where he finished fifth overall in the under 85 kg weight category, was tested out of competition in June by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"On the analysis of his "A" sample, the laboratory reports that it has detected tomaxifen in his bodily specimen, which constitutes an anti-doping violation under the IWF anti-doping policy," Philippe Saint-Cyr, the chairman of IWF doping control commission, said in a letter to KWF dated August 30. Obiero could not be reached for comment yesterday.

His suspension from weightlifting activity will end on June 24, 2009.

KWF secretary Pius Ochieng was shocked by the result saying Obiero had been one of the sport's role models in Kenya. "Obiero has undergone doping tests numerous times and he has always come out clean.

"He was at the end of his career, knows what all this means, and is the last person I would expect to use banned substances," Ochieng said.

The KWF official said the executive committee would meet to decide on what action to take against Obiero.

Tamoxifen is categorised by WADA as a selective estrogen receptor modulator substance that is banned in and out of competition.

Obiero becomes the second Kenyan lifter to test positive for banned substance since Musa Gekone was busted for ingesting Cathine, commonly found in khat, or miraa, in 1990.

"We have always advocated for a drug free sport. It does not pay to use banned substances and athletes who do this only spoil the image of sports and their careers," Ochieng said.

Obiero has been one of the most consistent lifters in Kenya.

He first represented the country in a major competition in 1994 during the Victoria Commonwealth Games.

Since that time he has been to all the subsequent three Commonwealth Games and the 1999, 2003 and 2007 All Africa Games.

His consistency was rewarded with an overall Kenya team captaincy of the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja. He obtained a diploma in weightlifting coaching several years ago from Hungary and had been earmarked by the federation as a future coach of the national team.

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