Nairobi – The chairperson of Athletics Kenya (AK) hasrevealed that another “high-profile athlete” has failed a dopingtest, just weeks after it emerged Rio Olympics marathon champion Jemima Sumgongtested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Jackson Tuwei said that the IAAF, the sport’s globalgoverning body, had found the positive test but said the identity of theathlete could not yet be revealed.
Kenya’s middle and long distance success has been marred bydoping cases involving elite athletes. Officials estimate the number ofpositive tests at about 50 in the past four years.
“There is another high-profile athlete who has alsofailed a doping test but we have to wait for legal procedures to befollowed,” Tuwei told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
“Obviously we cannot say who the athlete is.”
News of the test comes after Sumgong, who last year becamethe first Kenyan woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon, tested positive forthe banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in an out-of-competition testcarried out by IAAF.
Doping was made a criminal offence in Kenya in June 2016.
Tuwei said the IAAF had rejected Sumgong’s explanation aboutthe circumstances that led to her positive test.
“Her explanation has been rejected and she has beenordered to send a more convincing explanation before further action istaken,” Tuwei said.
Sumgong’s positive test came in the wake of a four-year banhanded to Kenya’s multi-marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, Sumgong’s formertraining partner, after she tested positive for EPO in 2014.
“We also wish to send a very strong message to athletesrepresentatives, doctors, coaches and all athletes support personnel that thosefound culpable or proved to be encouraging our athletes in this line ofsporting subterfuge will be charged as prescribed by the law of the land,” AKsaid in a separate statement on Thursday.
Sumgong, 32, was among the six Kenyan gold medallists inRio, which was the country’s best performance at an Olympics.