NAIROBI, September 23 – National 400 metres champion Elizabeth Muthoka has been handed a two year ban after failing a dope test.
A new national 400 metres record of 50.8 seconds that she this year has also been wiped out and she has returned earnings from competitions this year.
Muthoka tested positive for banned substance nandrolone at the National Athletics Championships on June 28. It was at the meet where she sprung to prominence breaking the then national record twice in two days.
Athletics Kenya (AK) Secretary General David Okeyo confirmed Muthoka’s failed drugs’ test and subsequent ban on Tuesday.
“She was one of six athletes selected randomly to undergo tests at the national championships and in accordance with IAAF stipulations, we have handed her an automatic two year ban,” he said.
Okeyo added that she had taken prescription medicine before hand, “She had declared on the form that she was taking drugs to boost her haemoglobin levels but whatever she has tested positive for is different from the drugs.”
He said AK had kept the matter under wraps until they had comprehensively studies the results and given her time to appeal, “Its is a sensitive matter that could have legal implications so we had to wait until all the paperwork had been completed and resolved before breaking the news.”
AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said the association will introduce dope tests at national championships, trials and any other international meet held in Kenya.
“Kenya has the highest number of athletes in the world and we need to keep on checking because IAAF has taken a very tough stance against drugs. It is very costly exercise but we feel it’s an important part of our activities,” he observed.
Muthoka had a stellar season this year smashing a 24 year old national record on June 26 clocking 51.4 seconds to smash Ruth Waithera’s 400 metres record of 51.56 seconds set way back in 1984 during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Then at the national trials she further lowered it to 50.8 seconds.
She was then selected for the Olympics up but she never made the trip.
Efforts to contact her or her coaches bore no fruit and her whereabouts had remained a mystery throughout the Olympics with national team officials playing a cat and mouse game with the media.
Muthoka is the fourth Kenyan woman to test positive for banned substances. Lydia Cheromei served a two year ban for Clomichene while Pamela Chepchumba also served a two year ban after testing positive for EPO.
Two time New York runner up Susan Chepkemei was banned for a year after testing positive for Salbutamol.
Simon Kemboi tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2000 while boxer David Munyasia was sent home from Athens after testing positive for cathene (miraa).