2 runners excluded from the Kenya Olympic team for doping tests
Posted On July 15, 2021
Kenya was forced to remove two riders from their Olympic squad just over a week before the Tokyo Games opened because they failed to pass the required number of out-of-competition doping tests.
Through MUTWIRI MUTUOTA and GERALD IMRAY Associated Press
July 15, 2021, 09:34
• 3 minutes to read
NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya was forced to withdraw two riders from its Olympic team just over a week before the Tokyo Games because they failed to pass the required number of out-of-competition doping tests, said Thursday a manager.
This gave 1500-meter world champion Timothy Cheruiyot a last-minute spot on the squad.
Kenya have also not decided whether world and Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will be part of the squad and will be able to defend his title in Tokyo.
Kipruto dropped out of the race in national testing last month after two laps and is out of shape, as he also faces a criminal case in Kenya after being charged last year with statutory rape. He is released on bail.
Kenya team officials will meet to make a late decision on including Kipruto.
Cheruiyot is now a serious contender for gold in the 1500m in Tokyo after setting the best world time this year and winning back-to-back Diamond League titles in Stockholm and Monaco this month. He was not initially in the Kenya squad after finishing fourth in trials.
Cheruiyot will replace 18-year-old Kamar Etiang, who surprised by finishing second in practice with a personal best.
But Etiang failed to comply with anti-doping regulations that require Kenyan athletes to pass at least three out-of-competition tests within 10 months of a major championship. Tests should be spaced at least three weeks apart. These rules are applied in Kenya because the country is considered high risk by the World Anti-Doping Agency after a large number of doping cases in recent years.
“It’s really unfortunate that Etiang had to be abandoned,” said Kenya Olympic team general manager Barnaba Korir. “We explained that to the athlete and he understood the situation we are in.”
Another runner, US 400-meter hurdler Moitalel Mpoke Naadokila, was also pulled from the team because he failed to meet doping control requirements.
This year, Kenya has largely avoided the numerous doping scandals that marred its preparation for the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and placed a severe test on the country’s famous long-distance runners.
Walkers Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii will also not travel to Tokyo after their qualifying times for the Kenyan trials were not certified because no World Athletics official was present, Korir said.
He said the Kenyan team tried to get Gathimba and Ngii to attend an event in Spain to qualify, but could not arrange this in time due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper reported that Gathimba and Ngii refused to leave the Kenyan team’s base in Nairobi until the reasons for their exclusion were explained to them.
Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.
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