24 Feb 2013

Kenya bans marathon runners for doping

8:56 am on 24 February 2013

Kenya has banned three marathon runners for doping offences, including the first case of a Kenyan athlete using the banned blood booster EPO.

Wilson Loyanae Erupe, who won the 2012 Seoul marathon in a course record of 2:05:6, and Nixon Kiplagat were each suspended for two years, while Moses Kiptoo Kurgat received a one-year ban.

The country's national athletics body (AK) said Erupe tested positive for EPO, or erythropoietin, in an out-of-competition test conducted last year, the first Kenyan athlete to be caught using the banned drug hormone which increases the red blood cell count.

Kiplagat tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone after competing in a race in Mexico.

Charges were dropped against a fourth runner, Francis Kibiwott, who represented Kenya at the 2007 World Half Marathon in Udine, Italy, finishing 45th.

A recent series of doping cases has sparked concern in the east Africa nation, whose runners are held up as national heroes, AFP reports.

However AK secretary David Okeyo Okeyo said it does not mean Kenya faces a full blown doping problem. "We have nothing to hide," he said. "As soon as we establish any athlete has doped, we shall expose them.