NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya, facing scrutiny from world anti-doping officials and criticism that it is not doing enough to tackle the problem, has banned seven more athletes for doping offences, raising the total number of Kenyan drug cases in the last three years to 40.
In a statement late on Friday, Athletics Kenya said it had confirmed the sanctions against seven athletes for a range of drug offences.
The list included Emily Chebet, a double world cross country champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist. She was handed a four-year ban after testing positive for a diuretic.
Joyce Zakary, a 400 metre runner, and hurdler Koki Manunga were also given four-year bans. Both tested positive for diuretics at this year’s world championships in Beijing.
The latest list also included four long-distance runners, Agnes Jepkosgei, Bernard Mwendia, Judy Jesire Kimuge and Lilian Moraa Marita. They were each suspended for between two and four years.
Kenya boasts some of the world’s finest middle and long-distance runners but in recent years has been shaken by a spate of failed drug tests. Some athletes have said the government and Athletics Kenya have not taken the issue seriously.
Allegations of corruption among Athletics Kenya chiefs tied to a corporate sponsorship deal, combined with Russia’s recent ban from global athletics, have stirred fears the East African nation could be banned from international track and field.
In total, 43 Kenyans have been suspended for doping with 40 of those in the last three years, including Rita Jeptoo, who won the Boston and Chicago Marathons.
(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Julian Linden)