Kenyan champion banned for six years over doping violations

Kenyan long-distance runner Rodgers Kwemoi has been hit with a hefty six-year ban for blood doping violations.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) termed the case “extremely serious” and disqualified all of Kwemoi’s results from 2016 to 2023.

The 27-year-old Kwemoi was a rising star, having won the world junior 10,000m title in 2016 and a Commonwealth Games bronze in 2018.

He also achieved respectable finishes at major championships, including a fourth place at the 2019 Doha World Championships and a seventh place at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

However, the AIU’s investigation revealed a troubling pattern. Kwemoi’s blood samples, analyzed through the athlete biological passport (ABP) system, showed evidence of blood doping on 18 separate occasions over six years.

This, according to the AIU panel, indicated “use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method on multiple occasions.”

The panel further stated that “most manipulations were done in the lead-up to the most important athletics competitions.” This suggests a deliberate and calculated attempt to gain an unfair advantage in major events.

Kwemoi’s claims that the discrepancies were due to environmental factors were rejected by the AIU.

The ban on Kwemoi is another blow to Kenyan athletics, which has been plagued by doping scandals in recent years.

With nearly 100 Kenyan athletes, primarily long-distance runners, banned in the past five years, the sport’s governing body in the country faces immense pressure to address the systematic doping problem.

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