Nairobi — The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has slapped Kenyan distance runner Agnes Jeruto Barsosio, the 2022 nairobi City Marathon winner, with a five-year ban for inconsistencies in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) following blood tests conducted on her in a nine-year period.
The sanction was supposed to have been six years, four for the ABP rule violation and a further two for the presence of a banned substance, but upon admission, she received a one-year pardon.
Consequently, her results from May 9 2022, including her Nairobi City Marathon title, have been annulled and she is set to forfeit the Sh6mn prize money she won.
The suspension might essentially end her career. She is currently 41 years old and by the time the serving period is over, she will be 46.
According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), 12 blood samples were taken from the athlete between July 10, 2013 and November 30, 2022.
"The Passport generated an Atypical Passport Finding in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) which was submitted by the Athlete Passport Management Unit ("APMU") for a two-step review on an anonymous basis, first by a single Expert and then for a further review by three Experts (an Expert Panel)," a statement from the AIU stated.
It added; "Following the review of the Passport in accordance with Articles C.3 and C.4 of the ISRM, the Expert Panel identified abnormalities in the blood samples as features of blood manipulation in preparation for competition, in particular, variations in blood samples collected in May 2022 (shortly following the Athlete's participation in a marathon in Nairobi, Kenya), August 2022, and late October and early November 2022 (within two weeks of a planned marathon competition)."
"The Expert Panel confirmed their unanimous opinion of "Likely Doping" in the Athlete's case in a Joint Expert Panel Opinion dated 23 April 2023 (the "First Joint Opinion")."
The AIU informed the 41-year old of the findings and she returned an admission form, admitting to the Anti-Doping charges forwarded to her, after she was notified of the charges on May 4, 2023. She consequently did not register to defend her Nairobi City Marathon title.
She had erstwhile given a written explanation to justify the inconsistencies in her passport, explaining the abnormalities in the Passport by altitude changes (within Kenya), irregular menstruation, irregular training and irregular diet, specifically in relation to iron-rich foods.
However, upon review, the independent AIU panel concluded on likely doping by the athlete and the irregularities in the Passport were possibly down to the use of a prohibited substance or method (blood doping).
"The AIU considered that the Passport provided evidence of the Athlete's Use of a Prohibited Substance (an erythropoiesis stimulating agent (ESA) such as recombinant erythropoietin (EPO)) or a Prohibited Method on multiple occasions," said AIU in a statement.