by Kimathi Kamau
NAIROBI, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) — Three Kenyan marathoners will serve a cumulative five year bans including a two time winner of Seoul Marathon, Wilson Erupe Loyanae, the local federation confirmed on Friday.
Loyanae and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich will serve a ban of two years each with Moses Kiptoo Kurgat being sanctioned for a year after both A and B samples returned positive results for banned substance abuse, Athletics Kenya (AK) disclosed.
Francis Kibiwott, who ran for Kenya during the 2007 World Half Marathon in Udine, Italy, finishing 45th, and has proven himself a handy half marathoner since, has been pardoned after his case was reviewed by the medical commission of world body, IAAF.
Another female athlete is likely to be banned when normal procedures are completed after testing positive during the 2012 Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon.
Federation secretary, David Okeyo, who confirmed the latest cases, maintained the recent suspensions that bring to six Kenyan runners banned in the past year is not indication the problem was wide scale as has been portrayed in international media.
“It is not a secret, once we find our athletes have broken the rules, nobody will be spared and we will deal with each case as it comes. The cases that have been brought to us we have dealt with them decisively like a court of law.”
“But we cannot pass judgment until proven guilty and we give them time to explain to the medical commission in writing before we act,” he added.
He explained that Kiplagat sought medication without notifying authorities while Kiptoo failed an out of competition test. Erupe failed a test conducted after competing at the Houston Half Marathon earlier this year.
Hailing from Lodwar in Turkana District, in Northern Kenya Loyanae began competing in the ultimate distance race in 2010.
He ran in his first foreign race in October 2011 at South Korea ‘s Gyeongju International Marathon and he won with a personal best time of 2:09:23.
Loyanae’s next outing was again in South Korea, this time at the higher profile Seoul International Marathon, and he managed to continue his winning streak.
Beating the more favoured Kenyans, James Kwambai and Eliud Kiptanui; he knocked almost four minutes off his best time to set a course record of 2:05:37 a mark which moved him into the top 30 runners of all time.
He defended his title in Gyeongju with a course record run of 2: 06:46 and his first race this year saw him place third in the Houston Half Marathon.
“Loyanae is a top marathoner and he is in the top 30 but we will not spare anyone, we are taking doping seriously. But in most of the cases in this country like Kiplagat’s, they say that they are sick and received medication.”
“We have been telling the athletes that when they are sick, they should let us know what they are being given so that we can present their cases since the rules are very clear,” Okeyo explained.
Kiptoo placed third in both Enschede (2:09:59) and Gonju (2:08: 40) marathons last year running what was his career best time in the latter while Kiplagat also took the final podium place in the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2:14:46.
“We educating our athletes every day and doing all that we can to ensure that our runners do not fall into this problem,” the general secretary stated.