Nairobi — Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon champion has been slapped with a four-year ban by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal for a violation of the Athletes Biological Passport (ABP), an anti-doping offense.
He becomes the 11th Kenyan to be handed a ban for doping offenses this year alone.
Others to be banned include Peter Kwemoi (EPO), Vincent Yator (metabolites of testosterone), Mikel Mutai, Mercy Kibarus, Japhet Kipkorir (Norandrosterone), Alex Korio (Whereabouts), Wilson Kipsang (Tampering with any part of Doping Control), Kenneth Kipkemoi (Terbutaline), Philip Kangogo (Higenamine) and Patrick Siele (Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection).
Wanjiru had been provisionally suspended in April this year, and after a hearing at the Tribunal was found guilty of the offense and handed the ban which will be backdated to December 9, 2019.
Wanjiru's blood samples were taken by the Athletics Integrity Unit between April 20, 2017 and April 25, 2019. The AIU then noted inconsistencies in the 16 blood samples taken in that duration.
The athlete's ABP was submitted to a panel of three qualified and experienced experts for anonymous review; Doctor Laura Garvican Lewis, Professor Giuseppe d'Onofrio and Doctor Paulo Paixao.
The expert panel made their first report in September 2019 and noted abnormalities in sample 14, taken just before he flew to the London Half Marathon and noted that the Haemoglobin levels were too high for a healthy young man.
They also argued that a sudden change in altitude from Kenya to London could not cause such a massive change.
In his response on February 21, 2020, Wanjiru denied any wrongdoing and any attempt of doping due to his abnormal HB levels, adding that it did not provide sufficient evidence of any drug cheating attempt.
However, the independent panel was not convinced saying that the Haemoglobin level which had a reading of 132.50 was abnormally high and an extremely rare finding.
The athlete will now forfeit all winnings, medals or prize money from March 2019. The results include his third spot placing at the Vitality Big Half Marathon in London in March and his 11th placing at London Marathon in April, all 2019.
Previously, Wanjiru had pleaded innocence and in a statement released just after his suspension, he affirmed that he was no sinner of doping.
"I am clean in the sports I do. The ABP finding is confusing and frustrating (to) me. Specialists have informed me about how this can happen and I have come to realize there can be hundreds of reasons found why HB is fluctuating," Wanjiru further said.