Ekiru's ten-year suspension reveals the intricate nature of doping within Kenyan athletics.

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Ekiru’s ten-year suspension reveals the intricate nature of doping within Kenyan athletics.

athletics events, athletics games, athletics history

The imposing 10-year suspension handed down to Kenyan marathoner Titus Ekiru by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has unveiled another layer of the doping crisis that has gripped Kenya’s athletics scene for nearly a decade.

In a statement released in the Kenyan capital, the AIU clarified that this stringent penalty, the longest ever imposed on a Kenyan athlete, was the result of a thorough investigation. This inquiry unearthed that the 31-year-old athlete had actively obstructed the investigation into two failed drug tests. It was disclosed that Ekiru had colluded with a senior doctor in Nandi County, located in northwest Kenya, who administered triamcinolone acetonide injections to Ekiru on two separate occasions, namely April 29 and May 6, 2021, during unrecorded hospital visits.

The AIU statement revealed that the senior doctor contended that these visits went undocumented by the hospital because Ekiru had arrived early in the morning before the registration offices were open. Consequently, Ekiru tested positive for prohibited substances or their metabolites and faces a ban from June 28, 2022, to June 27, 2032.

The AIU also announced that all of Ekiru’s results from May 16, 2021, onwards have been disqualified, leading to the forfeiture of prizes and earnings. This includes his remarkable victory in the 2021 Milan Marathon, where he clocked 2:02:57, a performance that would have ranked him as the seventh-fastest marathoner of all time. Likewise, his triumph in the Abu Dhabi marathon in 2021, where he finished in 2:06:13, has been nullified, erasing his name from the record books.

In a detailed report released in May, the AIU expressed its growing concern that doping in Kenya had evolved from isolated incidents into a complex and highly profitable industry, with cheaters reaping substantial financial rewards. Ekiru’s case now highlights the depth of this crisis, leading to Kenya being categorized as a high-risk country for athlete doping since 2017.

Reflecting on Ekiru’s case, local television journalist James Wokabi expressed his astonishment on social media, emphasizing the athlete’s extensive efforts to conceal his misdeeds and the relentless determination of the AIU and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) in uncovering the truth.

Prior to his downfall, Ekiru had secured victories in marathons in Seville (2017), San Diego, Mexico City, and Honolulu (all in 2018), and repeated his success in Milan and Honolulu in 2021. He also clinched the Half Marathon gold medal for Kenya at the 2019 All-Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive issue of doping in the world of athletics, underlining the critical role that rigorous investigations and anti-doping organizations play in preserving the integrity of the sport.
Reference:

https://www.thestatesman.com/sports/ekirus-10-year-ban-exposes-complexity-of-doping-in-kenyan-athletics-1503232379.html

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