By Le Figaro with AFP
Winner of the Milan marathon in May 2021, the Kenyan has just received a ten-year suspension.
Kenyan Titus Ekiru, winner of the Milan marathon in May 2021, received a ten-year suspension for doping and obstructing the investigation, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Monday.
The 31-year-old athlete tested positive for a doping substance after his surprise victory in Milan, where he had just won the marathon in a stunning time of 2 hours 2 min 57 sec. He had another positive test in November of the same year in Abu Dhabi, the AIU said in a press release. Ekiru had claimed that this abnormality was the result of legal medical treatment for his injuries.
“The Kenyan athlete has given up on continuing the procedure”
A little-known athlete, Ekiru surprised the specialists of the event with an exceptional time equal to the old world record of his compatriot Denis Kimetto (2h02:57 also, in 2014), improved twice by Eliud Kipchoge (in 2018 then in 2022) and finally beaten by Kelvin Kiptum on October 8 in Chicago (2h00:35).
Ekiru was initially provisionally suspended on June 28, 2022, for the use of triamcinolone acetonide – a glucocorticoid completely banned since January 2022 – and pethidine (narcotic). Confirmation of his suspension means he will be banned from racing until 2032.
The AIU added that the Kenyan was stripped of his titles, as well as his results since the Milan race and all prizes gleaned are lost. The ban follows a “thorough investigation” which revealed deliberate fraud by Ekiru to obstruct the AIU investigation and collusion with a doctor at a Kenyan hospital, the agency said.
“Initially, Ekiru expressed his intention to contest the allegations. But confused by substantial evidence against him, the Kenyan athlete gave up pursuing the procedure», adds the text. The body has asked the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to refer the doctor to the country’s criminal authorities for further investigation. Kenya has seen a surge in doping cases that have tarnished its reputation as an athletic powerhouse. Nearly 70 athletes – mainly long-distance runners – have been banned over the past five years.