Kenyan marathon runner Titus Ekiru has been handed a 10-year ban for doping and attempting to obstruct the ensuing investigation. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the ban on Monday, further tarnishing the reputation of Kenya as an athletics powerhouse, according to a report by AFP.
The Downfall of a Champion
The 31-year-old Ekiru had tested positive for prohibited substances after his victories in the Milan Marathon in May 2021 and the Abu Dhabi event in November of the same year.
Initially, Ekiru signaled his intention to contest the charges but later withdrew his appeal when faced with substantial evidence against him, the report said. His results, including and since the Milan race, have been disqualified, and all prizes have been forfeited.
The AIU’s comprehensive investigation revealed not only Ekiru’s attempts to obstruct the probe but also collusion by a senior doctor at a Kenyan hospital.
The AIU has called for the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to refer the doctor to criminal authorities in Kenya for further investigation.
“For athletes involved in doping and the entourage who assist them, there is one strong message from this case -– there is nowhere to hide,” AIU chair David Howman said in a release.
Ekiru’s 2:02:57 time at the Milan marathon had propelled him to joint No. 6 on the all-time chart, but he has since been invalidated of that achievement.
He won the Half Marathon All Africa Games title in 2019 running 1:01:42 at the time. Ekiru has never broken 60 minutes for the half marathon. He has won at least 10 marathon or half-marathon races between 2017 and 2021, according to Reuters.
This latest case with Ekiru adds to the growing number of doping scandals that have tarnished Kenya’s reputation as an athletics powerhouse. According to the AFP report, almost 70 athletes, primarily distance runners, have been banned in the last five years due to doping violations.
- Titus Ekiru receives a 10-year ban for doping and attempting to obstruct the investigation.
- Ekiru’s results from the Milan Marathon and subsequent races have been disqualified.
- A senior doctor in Kenya is implicated in the case, with the AIU calling for further criminal investigation.