Kiprop says he's clean amid drug talk

Asbel Kiprop competing in the 1,500m semi-finals in last year's London World Athletics Championships. He finished ninth in the final.
Asbel Kiprop competing in the 1,500m semi-finals in last year's London World Athletics Championships. He finished ninth in the final.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • Former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop on Wednesday vowed to clear his name following reports that he had tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

Kenyan newspaper The Standard reported that a high-profile athlete had failed a doping test, without naming anyone.

British newspaper The Guardian quoted him as saying: "As an athlete, I have been at the forefront of the fight against doping in Kenya, a fight I strongly believe in and support.

"I would not want to ruin all that I have worked for since my first international race in 2007.

"I hope I can prove that I am a clean athlete in every way possible."

Kiprop's Italian agent Frederico Rosa told The Guardian he had also heard the rumours but had no further information.

Athletics Kenya yesterday refused to confirm or deny reports that Kiprop had failed an out-of-competition drug test.

It would be a serious blow to Kenyan athletics if it is confirmed that 28-year-old Kiprop, one of the biggest names in the country's stellar cast of middle-distance athletes, had tested positive for EPO.

Kiprop, the world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015, originally finished second in the 1,500m final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was upgraded when Moroccan-turned-Bahraini Rashid Ramzi tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and was stripped of the gold medal.

Kenya has been fighting intense criticism of its anti-doping efforts after more than 40 athletes tested positive over the past five years.

Three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, also managed by Rosa, were among around 50 Kenyans who have failed doping tests in the last six years.

Three years ago, Kenya was rated "non-compliant" by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) before being reinstated prior to the Rio Olympics.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Kiprop says he's clean amid drug talk'. Print Edition | Subscribe