NAIROBI, Kenya, November 18 – Kenya will have its first 1500m Olympic gold medallist in nine years with Asbel Kiprop set to be awarded the gong after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi was stripped off the title on Wednesday.
The Moroccan born Ramzi tested positive in April for the blood booster Cera at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
"The Bahraini Olympic Committee has received a letter from the disciplinary committee of the International Olympic Committee announcing the decision to strip runner Rashid Ramzi of his gold medal for the 1500 metres," said Bahrain Olympic Committee secretary general Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad.
"The International Olympic Committee has requested that the gold medal be returned as soon as possible," he added.
The news will no doubt act as respite for Kiprop who despite being the distance’s favourite at this year’s IAAF World Championships faltered in the 1500m final in which he finished fourth.
Kenya who had its most successful Olympics outing in Beijing will now have more reason to celebrate as it stands to get a sixth gold medal.
Noah Ngeny was the last Kenyan to clinch Olympic gold in the 1500m a feat achieved at the 2000 Sydney Olympics
Ngeny finished ahead of favourite Hicham El Guerrouj of Morroco and also setting an Olympic record of 3:32:07 in the process.
Ramzi was one of five Beijing competitors who were later caught out when samples were re-tested in February and found to contain the booster which is a mutated form of the endurance enhancing hormone EPO.
Ramzi, who gained Bahraini citizenship in 2002 after joining the country’s armed forces a year earlier, shot to fame when he won the 800m and 1500m double at the 2005 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, becoming the first man to do so at a global event since New Zealander Peter Snell in 1964.
He’s victory was the first ever gold won by the Gulf country.