Kenyan Marathon Champion, Titus Ekiru, Receives 10-Year Suspension for Doping and Obstruction

Kenyan Marathon Champion, Titus Ekiru, Receives 10-Year Suspension for Doping and Obstruction

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Titus Ekiru, the renowned Kenyan marathon runner who clinched victory at the Milan Marathon in May 2021, has been handed a significant blow. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) officially announced on Monday that Ekiru has been slapped with a ten-year suspension for doping and for obstructing the ensuing investigation.

The 31-year-old athlete’s fall from grace began after his astonishing triumph in Milan, where he clocked an impressive time of 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 57 seconds. Following this remarkable achievement, Ekiru tested positive for a banned doping substance. Further exacerbating his situation, he registered another positive test in November of the same year during a race in Abu Dhabi, as disclosed by the AIU in a press release.

In response to the allegations, Ekiru had maintained that the abnormal test results were a result of legal medical treatment he was receiving for injuries. However, this defense ultimately proved unconvincing to the authorities.

Titus Ekiru had surprised experts in the field with a performance that matched the world record held by his compatriot Denis Kimetto (2 hours, 2 minutes, and 57 seconds in 2014). This record was later surpassed twice by Eliud Kipchoge in 2018 and 2022, and most recently, Kelvin Kiptum in Chicago on October 8, 2022, with a time of 2 hours and 35 seconds.

The initial provisional suspension of Ekiru was put into effect on June 28, 2022, stemming from his use of the banned substances triamcinolone acetonide and pethidine. Triamcinolone acetonide, a prohibited glucocorticoid, had been banned since January 2022. This suspension verdict effectively bans Ekiru from competitive racing until 2032.

Ekiru had previously tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide following his Milan victory and for pethidine after winning in Abu Dhabi. He had asserted that these positive tests were due to legitimate medical treatments for injuries.

Nevertheless, the investigation uncovered a damning revelation that a senior doctor had colluded with Ekiru in this illicit activity. Furthermore, it was discovered that documents provided by the hospital to explain the presence of banned substances were falsified.

Consequently, the AIU has called upon the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to forward the case of the complicit doctor to the Kenyan criminal authorities for a thorough investigation.

David Howman, the AIU Chair, had this to say: “For athletes involved in doping and the entourage who assist them, there is one strong message from this case — there is nowhere to hide.”

The suspension of Titus Ekiru will be effective from the date of his initial provisional suspension in June 2022 and will extend until June 2032

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