The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Friday announced it has provisionally suspended Kenya’s long-distance runner Sarah Chepchirchir with immediate effect for violation of the International Association of Athletics Federations(IAAF) doping rules.
A provisional suspension is when an athlete or other person is suspended temporarily from participating in any competition or activity in athletics prior to a final decision at a hearing conducted under the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules or the Integrity Code of Conduct.
“A provisional suspension imposed in a non-doping case does not in any way abrogate the presumption of innocence and it is not an early determination of guilt. Rather, it is an order made on a precautionary basis to safeguard the interests of the sport,” said the Monaco based AIU in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Chepchirchir is a former Lisbon marathon champion after she clinched the 2017 title in Tokyo.
Another big Kenyan name that has been brought down by doping is the Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, who was banned for four years after her claim of taking EPO for an ectopic pregnancy.
Last year, AIU confirmed Kenya’s 1500m Asbel Kiprop, widely regarded as the world’s finest middle- distance runner of the past decade, tested positive for banned substance recombinant erythropoietin (EPO).
Kenyan runners, and especially those originating from the Kalenjin tribe in the Rift Valley, have dominated international middle- and long-distance running for over 40 years, prompting recent significant interest in the factors contributing to their success.