Athletics Integrity Unit Bans Kenyan Athlete Rhonex Kipruto for 6 Years

A silhouette image of athletes running in a field
A silhouette image of Kenyan athletes running in a field

The Athletics Integrity Unit has banned World Championship 10,000 metres and 10-kilometre road-running world record-holder, Rhonex Kipruto from competitive athletic competitions for six years.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the athletics body explained that the athlete will be stripped off some of the titles he has won during his career including the 10-kilometre road-running world record won in Valencia, Spain in 2020.

While explaining the reason behind why the athlete is facing a lengthy ban, AIU explained that the decision was arrived at after tests conducted on samples he had provided yielded the conclusion that he had allegedly engaged in doping.

As such, the athlete now will be banned until May 10, 2029. His competitive results from 2 September 2018 to 11 May 2023 have also been annulled as well.

“This means the athlete’s 10-kilometre road-running world record in Valencia in 2020; 10,000 metres bronze medal in the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha and 10,000 metres victory in the 2019 Stockholm Diamond League, among many other honours,” will be annulled, stated AIU.

An artistic impression of how Nyayo Stadium will look like after renovations in readiness for AFCON 2027.
An artistic impression of how Nyayo Stadium will look after renovations in readiness for AFCON 2027.
Ababu Namwamba


Spirited Defence

The athlete had mounted a spirited defence after he was provisionally suspended on May 11, 2023.

In his defence Kipruto denied the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) charge, stating that the abnormalities detected  were due to multiple factors such as natural and specific characteristics of his body, various medical conditions and health conditions.

The AIU panel, however dismissed this defence stating that the abnormalities were as a result of blood manipulation and not natural causes as explained by  Kipruto.

"After considering submissions from experts, the Tribunal rejected Kipruto’s defence, concluding the “cause for the abnormalities in the ABP is more likely to be due to blood manipulation” such as through the use of recombinant human erythropoietin (rEPO), while pointing out there was “no other plausible explanation” for the abnormal values," a press statement released by the global body reads.

"Between 9 July 2018 and 15 March 2022, 32 blood samples from the athlete were collected and analysed to create his biological passport. Three experts subsequently analysed the passport, while also reviewing the athlete’s whereabouts along with his competition schedule and deemed in a unanimous opinion that doping was “highly likely” based on a number of “abnormal haematological patterns," the statement further reads.

Additionally, the Unit stated the ban was a way of upholding the organisation’s principles and ensuring that elite athletes adhere to anti-doping regulations.

Kipruto’s ban follows the provisional suspension of 33 sportsmen and women on June 4 by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.

The 33 included a total of 26 track athletes, 3 basketball players, 3 rugby players and 1 handball player.

An image of an athletics track
An image of an athletics track
Soft Surfaces