Shock as Kenyan runners banned for doping in 2022 reach 23

Diana Kipyokei

Diana Kipyokei of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Shock as the number of local athletes suspended or banned this year alone hits 23
  • In 2016, the country was placed in category A of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) compliance watch list.

The 2021 Boston Marathon champion, Diana Kipyokei and her compatriot Betty Wilson Lempus are the latest Kenyan athletes to have been suspended for using banned substances.

Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the body formed by World Athletics to combat doping in the sport, provisionally suspended the two athletes for using the banned substance triamcinolone acetonide.

Both have also been charged with obstructing the AIU’s investigation by providing false information or documentation.

The 28-year-old Kipyokei won the women’s race at the 125th Boston Marathon in two hours, 24 minutes and 45 seconds on October 11 last year, almost a year after winning the Istanbul Marathon in personal best 2:22:06 in Turkey.

Finished fifth

The 31-year-old Lempus finished fifth at the Prague Marathon in 2:24:16 last year, and won Paris Half Marathon in 1:05:46 the same year.

She also finished third at Shanghai International Marathon in 2:23:40 in 2018, a year after winning the Enschede Marathon in the Netherlands and the Hengshui Lake Marathon in China.

Kipyokei and Lempus’ suspension comes only three days after Kenyan marathon runners Mark Kangogo and Philemon Kacheran were banned for doping.

Kangogo on Tuesday became the latest distance runner from the country to be sanctioned by the AIU for allegedly breaching its anti-doping rules.

The AIU said in a statement that Kangogo had been provisionally suspended after tests showed the presence of two prohibited substances in his system, Norandrosterone and Triamcinolone acetonide.

Kipyokei and Lempus are the 22nd and 23rd Kenyan athletes suspended in 2022.
On Monday, Kacheran, who was stopped from competing at the Commonwealth games in August, was banned for three years by the AIU for testing positive for excessive levels of testosterone.

Under a provisional suspension, an athlete is temporarily barred from participating in any athletics competition before a final decision is made at a hearing conducted under World Athletics anti-doping rules, according to the AIU.

Kangogo, 33, won the prestigious Sierre-Zinal trail mountain race in Switzerland in August, considered one of the season’s toughest trail events, becoming the first African runner to do so.

Kacheram’s suspension came only six days after compatriot Lawrence Cherono, the 2019 Chicago and Boston marathon champion, was prevented from competing in the World athletics championships in Oregon, also for a doping offence.

Besides Kacheran, three other Kenyans were banned from taking part at the Commonwealth Games due to doping. 

They were female marathoners Stella Barsosio and Purity Changwony and 1,500m runner Kumari Taki.

In 2016, the country was placed in category A of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) compliance watch list.