Former World 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi suspended over violating anti-doping rules

Timothy Sein, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Edwin Melly and Vincent Keter compete at the Maurie Plant Memorial 2000m virtual race, one of the events in the Impossible Games at Nyayo national stadium on June 10, 2020. [Photo: Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

World 1500m champion (2017) Elijah Manangoi is the latest big-name Kenyan athlete to receive a suspension over violation of anti-doping rules.

According to The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Manangoi has been flagged down over whereabout failures.

Three other athletes, long-distance runner Kenneth Kipkemoi, Mercy Kibarus and Patrick Siele have also been charged by the AIU for violation of anti-doping rules.

Kenneth and Kibarus have been slapped with two and five year bans respectively for possessing prohibited substances, Terbutaline and Norandrosterone respectively.

Long-distance runner Patrick Siele has also been suspended over ‘Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection’.

Mercy Kibarus celebrates after crossing the tape during KECOSO men Half Marathon in Eldoret in 2014. [COURTESY]

Manangoi maintained his innocence and stressed that he has always competed as a clean athlete and detests doping.

“News of my suspension by the AIU for three missed tests is really devastating for me and I’m trying to get my head around it. What I can say is each of the missed tests happened during 2019, my case has nothing to do with prohibited substances and I’ve always competed as a clean athlete,” Manangoi said in a statement sent to newsrooms on Thursday.

He added: “Last year was the worst period of my career when I was upset through injury which impacted everything on and off the track. I know I’ve let people down, in particular, my coach and fellow athletes and I also know that no matter what I say here I’ll be criticised.

“The facts of the cases are clear in my mind and I’m sure there will be a time when it is appropriate to go into more detail. But right now I’m focused on compiling a formal response to the AIU so won’t be commenting further.”

In 2020 alone, five Kenyan athletes have been suspended and charged for whereabouts failures by the AIU including; former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, former world junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer, James Kibet, Mercy Jerotich and distance runner Kenneth Kipkemoi.

From 2004 to August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a WADA report published in September 2018.

With their high number of dopers, Kenya was placed under category A on the list of countries being watched together with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus.

Gold medallist Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi poses on the podium during the victory ceremony for the men's 1500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. [AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL]
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