The Star (Nairobi)

23 February 2013

Kenya: AK Ban Athletes

Athletics Kenya have banned three athletes for a total of five years after testing positive for banned substances. Nixon Kiplagat, Moses Kiptoo and Wilson Kurgat are the athletes in question.

The 2011 Mombasa marathon winner Kurgat will serve a two year suspension while Moses Kiptoo was banned for one year after both "A" and "B" urine samples returned positive results for substance abuse. Kurgat is one of the country's top marathoners and posted good results in the 2012 Kass Marathon in Eldoret and the Standard Chartered marathon.

At the Mombasa marathon he posted 2:13:00.

Kurgat was in sensational form when clinching the Geyeonju marathon in South Korea winning in 2:06:46 and his first race this year saw him finish third in the Houston Half Marathon.

Kiptoo was third in the Enschede marathon in the Netherlands posting 2:09:59 last year and registered 2:08:40 at the Gonju marathon also in South Korea.

Nixon Kiplagat was placed third in the Pittsburgh Marathon posting 2:14:46 last year.

Meanwhile Francis Kibiwott was pardoned after he indicated to the medical commission of the IAAF that he was on medication. Kibiwott represented the country at the 2007 world half marathon in Udine, Italy, finishing 45th.

The news will be a blow to the athletic fraternity coming hot on the heels of former World 3,000ms steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui's assertion that doping is widespread in the country.

Only last year German television station ARD alleged there were cases of blood doping among Kenyan runners. The report said two athletes one in Nairobi and one in Kapsabet Nandi were keen on boosting their performance through blood doping agent EPO (Erythropoietin)

Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat expressed shock and disbelief when contacted about the dope bans. "I received the information by sms and I don't sit on the medical commission. For more information speak to (AK secretary general David) Okeyo." Kiplagat said.

Okeyo said the the federation had nothing to hide and athletes who use banned substances will be banned accordingly.

"We are doing everything we can to educate athletes so that they don't get involved in the taking of banned substances," Okeyo said.

Okeyo, however, termed the cases as isolated and said Kenyan athletes were clean. He cited the widespreadg doping problems in Australia, India and Canada recently.

"You have seen what has happened recently in Australia , India and Canada. Doping is a world wide problem. It is not restricted to Kenya only" Okeyo said.

He said the medical commision tests cases on merit and separately.

"All cases are treated with equal measure and on merit because no two cases can be the same. It's a long process. The athletes banned today took part in last year's event" added Okeyo.

He said thery were waiting for tests conducted during last weekend's National Cross Country Championships before paying out the prize moniesor confirming the Kenyan team for the 40th World cross country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland on March 24.

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