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Kenya’s Kiptum handed four-year doping ban

Kenyan distance runner Abraham Kiptum set a new world best time of 58mins 18sec for the half-marathon

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – Former half-marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum has been slapped with a four-year doping ban after irregularities that showed up on his Athletes’ Biological Passport (ABP), which is used to track potential doping.

The decision was reached at the by Athletes Integrity Unit after Kiptum failed to explain the inconsistencies in his ABP with samples collected from 13 October to 25 December 2018.

Kiptum broke the world record in October 2018 at the Valencia Half Marathon clocking 58 minutes and 18 seconds, improving Ethiopia’s Zersenay Tadese’s time set in 2020 by 10 seconds.

Kiptum had earlier been suspended by the AIU pending completion of investigations and a chance for him to defend himself.

Consequently with the ban, all the proceeds that he earned from October 13 2018, including his half marathon world record and Valencia title as well as the prize monies that arose from his wins have been nullified.

In it’s findings, the AIU stated;

“In the automated analysis by the adaptive model, which determines whether fluctuations in the biomarkers of the Athlete Biological Passport are within the expected individual reference ranges for an athlete or not, the profile was flagged with a high haemoglobin concentration (Hb) and a high OFFscore in Sample 1, both values exceeding the respective upper 99.99% specificity level,” the first expert panel joint opinion stated.

In its qualitative assessment of the ABP profile, the Expert Panel noted that the HGB values for the entire profile were extremely high and well above the upper limit of the reference populations for adult males and undoped athletes, even taking into account the athlete’s altitude residency.

The panel argued that not even a change in altitude could have led to the high levels of HGB values.

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“It is highly likely that a prohibited substance or prohibited method has been used and that it is unlikely that the passport is the result of any other cause,” the panel further stated.

Kiptum was notified of the charge on February 25 this year and given a chance to provide an explanation. He maintained that he had never used any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method and relied on his history of negative urine tests taken in the period of his ABP Review by the Expert Panel.

Even after a second panel hearing confirmed the results of the first, Kiptum asked for the case to head to the tribunal which also did not accept his statements.

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