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Kenyan marathoner Emmanuel Saina faces three-year doping ban

One of Kenya’s top marathon-distance athletes, Emmanuel Saina, has been sanctioned with a three-year ban from competition for doping, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced Monday.

With a marathon PB of 2:05:21 from the 2018 Buenos Aires International Marathon (where he also set the South American all-comers record), Saina was the 16th fastest marathon runner in the world that year, and when he last ran officially at the 2021 Rotterdam Marathon his 2:05:51 finish placed him 40th in the world. Saina won the 2021 Honolulu Marathon in 2:14:30, in race that featured Canadian Olympian Lanni Marchant taking the win on the women’s side.

The AIU requested an out-of-competition sample from the athlete in late August, resulting in a positive test for 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), a metabolite contained in nandrolone.

In early September,  the AIU notified Saina of the findings of his sample and his violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules. Saina was also informed of his rights in this situation, which includes the option of admitting to the violation and benefiting from a one-year reduction to his automatic four-year sentence. The AIU received a form of admission and acceptance of consequences signed by Saina on Sept. 17.

Because of Saina’s early admission, his sentence will receive a one-year reduction, resulting in a period of ineligibility of three years beginning Sept. 9, 2022, and the disqualification of his results since Aug. 17, 2022, including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money. Saina waived his right to have a tribunal or to appeal.

The performance-enhancing nandrolone is also what former American Olympian Shelby Houlihan was sanctioned for in 2021. Houlihan contested her ban, arguing that the substance came from pig offal contained in a burrito she ate the day before her out-of-competition test.

The CAS did not accept her explanation and upheld the AIU’s charge. Houlihan also submitted a hair test and a lie detector test, both supporting her innocence, but these were found to be inadequate.

(09/28/2022) Views: 32 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne
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An Olympian, a burrito, a failed drug test: Former ASU runner Shelby Houlihan looks to rebound after doping ban

On a cloudy, characteristically cool December night in Beaverton, Oregon, Shelby Houlihan, the American record holder in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, accompanied Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic silver medalist in the steeplechase, and Frerichs’ sister, Lindsey, to an authentic Mexican food truck near her home. 

The three ordered carne asada burritos and returned to Houlihan’s house to eat and watch “The Bachelorette.”

The next morning, on Dec. 15, 2020, the former Arizona State standout was given a random drug test. Weeks later, in mid-January, Houlihan was notified in an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that her urine sample revealed the presence of 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), a metabolite produced by the substance nandrolone – an anabolic steroid prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

She was issued a provisional suspension, which set off a cascade of events that led to a four-year ban, knocked her out of the U.S. Olympic Trials leading up to the Tokyo Olympics and will bar her from competing until January 2025 when she will be almost 32.

It is, Houlihan said, “an athlete’s worst nightmare.”

Houlihan, 29, has lost the financial support of Nike. She also saw former teammate Gabriela DeBues-Stafford leave the club rather than risk sanctions because of the Bowerman Track Club continued relationship with Houlihan.

Houlihan said her initial response to the positive test was “shock and disbelief.” She wondered, “How am I going to explain (the presence of a banned substance) when I don’t even know where it came from myself?”

Houlihan was at a high-altitude training camp in Flagstaff when she received the email. 

“I opened up my phone to an email that was urgent, confidential and … it was this lab report of scientific words that I could not read,” Houlihan told Cronkite News. 

The Sioux City, Iowa, native said she read the email over about 10 times and had to Google which substance triggered the positive test, because she had never heard of nandrolone.

Then she called Jerry Schumacher, her coach at BTC, the professional Nike club that Houlihan had trained with since graduating from ASU in 2015.

“I’m just sobbing and trying to tell him what’s going on, but crying too hard,” Houlihan said.

The long road

Today, Houlihan lives alone in Portland and said she has relied on her former BTC teammates, her boyfriend and her family for support. She does odd jobs, including food delivery, and continues to train with the hope of returning to competition at an elite level.

It is not a situation she envisioned growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, surrounded by runners, including her mother, Connie, and her uncle, Bob Prince, who competed in college.

After winning several state titles at Sioux City East High School, Houlihan continued her success at Arizona State, where she won the NCAA 1,500 meters in 2014 and finished as a 12-time All-American, the second-most in program history.

She holds five school records: the outdoor 800 and 1,500 meters, and the indoor 800, mile and 3,000.

That success set the stage for 2016 Summer Olympics, where she finished 11th in the 5,000 meters and was the highest-placing U.S. runner in the race.

She also finished fourth in the 1,500 meters and set the American record at the 2019 World Outdoor Championships.

More Olympic success felt inevitable.

Shock and disbelief

Elise Cranny, a close friend and former Bowerman teammate of Houlihan’s, remembers that news of the positive test “didn’t really sink in” at first.

“I came back to the house, and I was like, ‘Man, something is very off … something is not right,’” said Cranny, who was living with Houlihan during the camp. “I think the initial reaction from everyone was disbelief, and like, ‘Oh, this is something that’s going to get figured out’ because it’s seriously wrong.”

Schumacher and Houlihan called attorney Paul Greene to “just try to figure out a game plan” and investigate further what could have happened. 

The first step was a pregnancy test because nandrolone can be found in pregnant women. After she determined she wasn’t pregnant, Houlihan compiled a log of everything she ate the week before the test. She scoured text messages, bank statements, food receipts and iPhone locations to determine everything she had consumed.

“I was able to piece it together pretty well,” Houlihan said. “And then, ultimately, we just felt like the food truck the night before had to be the most likely source.”

Houlihan wouldn’t name the establishment that served her the burrito because she doesn’t “want to mess with any lawsuit.” However, she isn’t blaming the food truck. 

“I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Houlihan said. “I think it just kind of happened.”

While Houlihan and her BTC teammates frequently ate at that food truck, she recalls that she received her order more quickly than usual, and the foil-wrapped burrito was unlabeled. 

Houlihan believes she may have been mistakenly given a burrito containing offal (pig organ meat), which can contain nandrolone. 

She remembers the meat in the burrito being finely chopped and that grease pooled in the foil. She said it seemed more rich than the burritos she had eaten there before, so much so that she was unable to finish it despite being very hungry after eating little else that day.

“We knew (nandrolone) can be found in pig offal, and we knew that I ate at a food truck that served pig offal 10 hours before (the test),” she said. “And we knew that when you ingest it, it can be at its highest levels 10 hours after ingestion, and that’s the exact kind of time frame that I had eaten that.

“And so as unlikely as all of those things were, it just seemed like the only thing that we could say, ‘All right, this makes some sense,’ and that’s really the only thing that we had to go on.”

Houlihan was the only one among the three who ate at the food truck who was tested.

A search for answers

She provided a hair sample that was examined by a toxicologist and it showed no trace of nandrolone. She also passed a polygraph examination that concluded she was not lying when asked if, at any time, she knowingly or intentionally ingested nandrolone. 

Houlihan’s urine tests taken Nov. 22, 2020, Jan. 23, 2021, and Feb. 4, 2021– before and after the positive test – all were negative. She also had her vitamins and supplements analyzed by a lab.

The previous urine tests and the lab report convinced Houlihan that it’s unlikely the positive result was triggered by a supplement or vitamin she was taking. She is still being randomly tested and all of her ensuing tests have come back clean.

She believes that given “the information that we have right now, (the burrito) is the only thing that kind of makes any type of logical sense.” 

Houlihan hired a private investigator to trace its sources of meat, but the effort was unsuccessful.

The private investigator found that the food truck owner purchased 30 pounds of pork stomach in a frozen batch from Iowa Beef Processors in September of 2020. However, the owner had no box or label from the meat used in December that could be traced to its processing plant.

And the investigator couldn’t determine whether the owner used pork from a castrated or uncastrated boar. Houlihan’s attorney argued it must have been uncastrated boar meat that triggered her positive test.

When the AIU officially charged Houlihan four months later, the U.S. Olympic Trials, scheduled for June 18-27, were fast approaching. Houlihan decided to go straight to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to avoid missing the trials. 

The CAS rejected Houlihan’s explanation of what happened and banned her from the sport for four years on June 11, 2021.

Houlihan’s ban lasts until Jan. 13, 2025. She missed last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, and she’ll miss next year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The CAS’s three-member panel found that Houlihan’s “explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Lacking evidence

The panel said that Houlihan failed to prove that the burrito she ate contained boar offal.

“First, the athlete would have had to have been served pork at the food truck despite ordering beef,” the court said. “Second, the pork consumed would not have been ‘normal’ pork product ordered by the food truck, but uncastrated boar. Third, uncastrated boar enters the food chain through completely different channels than pork.”

The panel said that the polygraph result and Houlihan’s hair sample were not “sufficient for the Athlete to rebut the presumption that the ADRV (anti-doping rule violation) was intentional.”

The court also said the concentration of nandrolone in Houlihan’s urine was “2-3 times higher than the highest values reported in the scientific literature after the ingestion of much more significant quantities of meat of mature (uncastrated) boar.”

On June 14, 2021, Houlihan publicly announced she tested positive for nandrolone and would not be competing at the upcoming Olympic Trials. Because Houlihan hadn’t been racing, many thought she was battling injuries instead of serving a provisional suspension.

“And at the end of the day, the panel didn’t think it was probable enough, which is unfortunate,” Houlihan said. “But yeah, I mean, that’s the only thing that we really have as an explanation. I hope at some point, maybe some more information pops up, and maybe it’s something else entirely. I don’t know. But it would be great to have an answer at some point.”

In May, Houlihan appealed the suspension to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. 

She lost. It was her last opportunity.

The hardest part to watch, Crany said, “is her getting renewed hope through the appeal process or through different things, and then seeing her kind of have that life back in her eyes again, just for it to come crashing down.” 

At one point, Houlihan was offered a reduced sentence – a three-year ban instead of four years – if she admitted guilt.

She refused.

“I never even considered that to be an option, because I knew I didn’t take (nandrolone) intentionally,” Houlihan said. “And I wasn’t going to admit to something that I didn’t do. At least I fought for myself and tried to do the right thing. But taking accountability for something that I didn’t do, it’s definitely not on the table for me.”

Houlihan thinks the system is flawed because the doping agency never had to prove she took a banned substance. 

“There was obviously something in my system and I understand that I have a responsibility for what’s in my body,” Houlihan said. “But I think knowing that I never intentionally put it there and (I’m) still having to serve a four-year ban is definitely a flaw in the system. I don’t feel like they did their due diligence in trying to figure out what the truth was. It was just at the end of the day I couldn’t, beyond a reasonable doubt, prove where it came from.” 

Houlihan said she believes the burden of proof should be shifted and “split 50-50 between the doping agency and the athlete.” While she believes that she should have to prove what triggered the positive test, she also believes the doping agency should have to prove that she intentionally cheated.

“Just even the playing field a little bit,” Houlihan said. “If you’ve ingested something, it’s almost impossible to try to figure out where that is. Because you’re getting notified a month or two later, I don’t have the source anymore. So it’s just a really impossible task to try to figure out. And I think it’s pretty flawed that if you can’t figure it out, it’s just an automatic four-year ban, and you’re treated like a doper.”

A new normal

Houlihan’s life today includes strong family and friend support.

Cranny said she had a lot of conversations with BTC teammates to make sure Houlihan felt supported.

“What you initially think of is her mental health and someone’s life being completely ripped out from under them and not being able to do what you love to do and what she feels like she’s been born and made to do,” Cranny said. “In the beginning, you worry about her being by herself, and making sure that she has people around her and she feels supported.”

Shelby’s mother, Connie Houlihan, who lives in Phoenix, said she is worried about the mental toll on her daughter. 

“You’re afraid of suicide,” Connie Houlihan said. “You know, everything’s a possibility … with depression and with something that critical that they took away from her. You don’t know. Of course, you’re scared to death.”

Connie said a couple of Shelby’s sisters went to be with Shelby right away because they didn’t want her alone. Shelby wouldn’t let her parents come visit, however, because, Connie said, “she was so overcome.”

“I think, if we would have flown there right away, she would have … this is the way she explained it to me, ‘That it would have made it all too real.’

“She was really struggling dealing with it,” Connie said. “She was crying all the time. But I think that was the hardest part for us that we couldn’t just jump on a plane and go and be with her because we respected her decision.”

Chloe Houlihan, one of Shelby’s five sisters, said her sister remained “very resilient through everything.” She said she has tried to be someone Shelby “can talk to when she’s kind of struggling.”

Shelby no longer trains with her BTC teammates, something which Chloe said has been difficult and “a little bit isolating” for her sister.

Until May, Houlihan was paying Schumacher to coach her as an independent athlete, but she confirmed she’s now training entirely by herself – using six years of past training logs as a reference.

“We just felt it was best to maybe cut ties for a little bit,” Houlihan said. “I think there was just a lot of publicity going on around me and him still working together. There was just a lot of scrutiny, I think.”

Some of that publicity and scrutiny was fueled by DeBues-Stafford’s decision to leave BTC because of Houlihan.

A two-time Canadian Olympian who placed fifth in the 1,500 at the Tokyo Olympics, DeBues-Stafford announced in April she left BTC due to Houlihan’s continued ban involvement with BTC at the time. 

“Fundamentally, I left the Bowerman Track Club because, despite my best efforts, I was unable to verify that the club was not in violation of World Athletics anti-doping regulations,” DeBues-Stafford said in an interview conducted via email. 

DeBues-Stafford was concerned that Houlihan was working out “under the guidance of” the three BTC coaches (Schumacher, Shalane Flanagan and Pascal Dobert) at the same location and times that other BTC athletes were working out while under the supervision of the same coaches. 

“While we never did a rep together, there was still what felt to me like an unnecessarily risky proximity between both men’s and women’s teams and an athlete serving a ban,” DeBues-Stafford said.

According to DeBues-Stafford, Houlihan would also use the private gym – built at Schumacher’s residence for BTC athletes to use – at the same time BTC athletes were there under staff supervision. 

“Shelby would drive to the Nike campus up to four times a week at the team’s regular time and the starting point for our regular daily runs together so she could run with us,” DeBues-Stafford said. “If she arrived before us, she would wait for BTC athletes at the meeting spot to see if any BTC athletes arrived so she could run with us. These sometimes included long runs. She also ran with the team on a regular basis at altitude camp in Flagstaff.”

Houlihan said she and her attorney inquired about the rules of her ban and were told that she couldn’t go to any practices or work out with anyone on the team, but if she happened to bump into them and they were running at the same place, then she could run with them. 

“My attempts to discuss my concerns with team staff were rebuffed, as were the earlier and more sustained efforts of other teammates,” DeBues-Stafford said. 

BTC did not receive independent legal advice on the issue, DeBues-Stafford said. She also said Houlihan shared accommodations with a full-time member of BTC staff during the Flagstaff camp, and those accommodations were used for organized BTC athlete support activities. 

“When I asked if Shelby’s lawyer had explicitly asked the AIU about her using the same gym as BTC and about how to handle the altitude trip, I did not get a clear response,” DeBues-Stafford said.

DeBues-Stafford said she “independently sought answers,” and reached out to an anti-doping organization to verify that BTC’s collective behavior was within the rules and that there was no liability on anyone other than Houlihan.

According to DeBues-Stafford, “the anti-doping organization could not guarantee that the actions of BTC and Shelby did not constitute a violation, and could not guarantee that other athletes and support staff couldn’t face repercussions either.”

She said the anti-doping agency cited two rules in the World Anti-Doping code and advised her to leave BTC and submit an official anonymous tip to the AIU.

A trying time

While Schumacher and some of Houlihan’s other teammates knew about her positive test in January of 2021, DeBues-Stafford did not learn about Houlihan’s positive test until a couple of days before the team publicly announced the ban about six months later. 

“Learning this news in mid-June almost derailed my Olympics,” DeBues-Stafford wrote in an Instagram post in April. “It was a small miracle that I showed up in Tokyo in shape to run sub-four (minutes) twice in 48 hours and place fifth.”

Houlihan said she was “surprised” and felt “blindsided and hurt and confused” by DeBues-Stafford’s social media posts because DeBues-Stafford had not told her about her concerns.

“I never knew that that was a problem for her,” Houlihan said. “And I’m not sure why she didn’t reach out to me. I reached out to her after I read her posts.”

Houlihan said she apologized to DeBues-Stafford for being affected by her situation.

“I think she just felt like she didn’t want to add to what I was going through by bringing it to me, which I don’t agree with, personally,” Houlihan said. “I felt like I would have rather had that conversation with her and I would have been more than glad to try to help that situation for her in any way, instead of what ended up happening. I think that was a lot worse – what ended up happening – than her just coming and talking to me about it.”

DeBues-Stafford has since moved to Victoria, B.C. and is now coached by Trent and Hilary Stellingwerff. 

“When I told Jerry (Schumacher) I was leaving BTC due to the lack of separation between Shelby and the group, he asked if I really wanted to leave, given he was thinking of possibly no longer coaching Shelby if she lost her appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal,” Debues-Stafford said.

Debues-Stafford said Houlihan was still driving to the Nike campus and running with BTC when Debues-Stafford left Portland on March 31.

“Growing fear over the team potentially breaking rules, coupled with frustration at the lack of action by the team left me in an awful and unsustainable headspace,” DeBues-Stafford said. “I left altitude camp early at the end of February to get some breathing space and made my decision to leave the team.”

A powerful influence

Cranny said she misses running with Houlihan and credits her for pushing her to succeed.

“I think of her all the time when I’m racing now,” Cranny said. “She’s a huge reason why I feel like I am where I am right now in my own running. She just really opened my eyes to the importance of not limiting yourself and putting yourself in it.” 

Although BTC could look a lot different, Houlihan would still like to eventually come back to the group once her ban is up.

“I definitely would like to rejoin Bowerman,” Houlihan said. “That’s like my family, basically. I’ve been a part of that group since I went pro in 2015 and I know those athletes so well. And I know that that training environment is great for me.” 

Cranny also wants Houlihan to rejoin BTC and said she can’t picture her former teammate anywhere else

“It feels like this is her family,” Cranny said. “I feel like everyone here is really supportive of her, really close friends with her. So I hope (she rejoins BTC). That’s something that we’ve definitely talked about as a team is wanting to work out with her again once the ban is up.”

When asked if she thinks she can still compete at the elite level once the ban is up, Houlihan said, “I guess that’s one thing that we’re just gonna have to find out.”

Houlihan is no longer a member of BTC nor being paid by Nike. She spent $250,000 in legal fees fighting her ban without any financial support from the Beaverton-based shoe and apparel giant.

“They said that they support me, and they believe in me, but as far as financially, I haven’t really received any support from them in that way,” Houlihan said.

Houlihan lost her six-figure professional contract with Nike and hasn’t had a paycheck in over a year. Her Nike deal also gave her the opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses on top of her base compensation, income that is also gone.

Houlihan’s mom called the entire process “an injustice” and said it wouldn’t make sense for her daughter to jeopardize her Nike contract by doping.

“Why would somebody with a contract that she had and the money that she was making, why would she cheat?” Connie said. “She had a contract (with Nike) through the (Tokyo and Paris) Olympics like, why would you cheat?” 

Houlihan said Nike hasn’t offered her a job, either.

“I’ve been doing some food delivery things like DoorDash and stuff, just to try to make a little money on the side, but yeah, just trying to get by.”

Houlihan continues to train but admits it is difficult.“It’s been really challenging, to be honest,” Houlihan said. 

As she trains alone, without her former coaches and teammates for support and motivation, Houlihan said she sometimes stops halfway through a workout or doesn’t always finish it at all. She finds it more difficult to hit her targeted times.

“I think it’s easy to do that when I’m having a great time and I’m having fun, and I’m finding joy in running,” Houlihan said. “But a lot of the things that make it fun aren’t really there for me right now.”

(09/16/2022) Views: 97 ⚡AMP
by David Veenstra (Cronkite News)
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Commonwealth Games relay champion Nwokocha given provisional doping ban

Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha, who was part of Nigeria's women's 4x100 metres relay team that dramatically won gold on the line at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for testing positive for a banned substance.

Nwokocha infamously dipped to the line to beat the hosts England on the anchor leg to put her team - also consisting of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili and Rosemary Chukwuma - top of the podium.

The 21-year-old tested positive for ostarine and ligandrol, according to the AIU.

It could lead to England being promoted to gold in the relay and Jamaica moved into silver.

Australia would be promoted to bronze if Nigeria are disqualified.

Ostarine is an anabolic steroid that is not approved for human use or consumption in the United States, the country where Nwokocha has trained while at university.

Ligandrol is used to increase energy, improve athletic performance and increase muscle growth.

Testing positive for prohibited substances carries a penalty of up to four years, meaning the Nigerian could miss the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games if found guilty.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Nwokocha made the semi-finals of the women's 100m and 200m, reaching the same stage in both races at this year's 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

The Nigerian was fifth at Birmingham 2022 in the women's 100m final too.

Nwokocha also finished sixth this year in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 100m and 200m finals.

She is not the first prominent Nigerian to face a ban, with Olympic, world and Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare given a 10-year ban earlier this year for multiple cases of doping, as well as refusing to comply with the investigation.

Failures in Nigerian anti-doping left several athletes to miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as they were deemed to have not been tested enough prior to the Games.

(09/05/2022) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Two more Kenyan marathoners suspended for failing doping tests

Two more Kenyan distance runners have been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for failing drugs tests, including Hangzhou Marathon winner Michael Kunyuga.

Kunyuga tested positive for norandrosterone and Maiyo Johnstone Kibet returned a sample found to contain erythropoietin (EPO).

Both are provisionally suspended as a consequence.

Norandrosterone is a product of nandrolone, an anabolic androgenic steroid known to accelerate muscle growth and recovery, while EPO boosts an athlete's endurance as it gives blood a greater capacity for carrying oxygen.

Kunyuga has a personal best in the marathon of 2 hours 6min 43sec, which ranks him among the 250 fastest athletes of all time.

The Kenyan's best results include winning the 2018 Hangzhou Marathon in 2:10:37 and placing fifth in the 2020 Seville Marathon, when Kunyuga set that personal best.

Kunyunga also won the Hengshui Lake Marathon and Padova Marathon in 2017.

Kibet's personal best in the marathon is 2:10:02, set in 2011 in Frankfurt.

In 2016, Kibet triumphed at the Wuhan Marathon.

The provisional suspensions are the latest in a long line of doing sanctions levied against Kenyan athletes.

Fifty banned Kenyans are listed on the AIU's database of ineligible persons, a national tally smaller only than Russia's.

A further seven, including Kibet and Kunyuga, are provisionally suspended.

Kenya is one of seven Category A nations deemed by the AIU to have the highest doping risk, along with Bahrain, Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

(08/30/2022) Views: 145 ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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Kenyan runner Wambui banned for seven years over positive test and cover-up

Kenyan runner Tabitha Gichia Wambui has been banned from competition for seven years after testing positive for norandrosterone and tampering with the anti-doping process.

Wambui argued that she was injected with the testosterone booster at hospital where she was being treated for "a headache and general body weakness".

However, an investigation from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya showed that the 37-year-old did not attend the hospital on the same dates as her medical reports stated and the hospital also had no record of the outpatient number on the documents the athlete submitted.

This attempted cover-up resulted in the tampering charge, which Wambui later admitted.

The athlete was banned for four years for the failed test and four for tampering, with one year removed from the overall sanction because Wambui was judged to have admitted the offences early and accepted the sanction.

The beginning of Wambui's ban is backdated to September 19 2021 and all of her results from that date have been disqualified, including victory at the Poznań Half Marathon in Poland on October 17 last year.

All titles, medals, points, prizes and appearance money must also be forfeited by the Kenyan from this period.

September 19 was the date that her first urine sample was taken, in-competition at the Copenhagen Half Marathon, before a second sample was collected at the race in Poland.

The following day, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Oslo reported an adverse analytical finding for norandrosterone in the first sample.

Norandrosterone is a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) non-specified substance as it is a product of nandrolone, an anabolic androgenic steroid.

Wambui's ban comes just a month after her compatriot Lawrence Cherono, the eighth-fastest marathon runner of all time, was banned from competing at the World Athletics Championships in the United States.

Cherono had tested positive for trimetazidine which can be used medically to prevent angina attacks.

It was also the same drug the Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Kenya is one of seven Category A nations deemed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to have the highest doping risk and threaten the overall integrity of the sport, along with Bahrain, Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

There are currently 49 Kenyan athletes listed as banned in the AIU database.

(08/16/2022) Views: 182 ⚡AMP
by Owen Lloyd
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Sebastian Coe hopes current athletes break 1980s records

Sebastian Coe wants the current generation of athletes to finally take down world records from the 1980s which he concedes “may not be the safest on the book”.

The issue has become a major talking point in Eugene after Shericka Jackson ran a stunning 21.45sec to win world 200m gold, a time that put her second on the all-time list behind Florence Griffith Joyner. The controversial American, who also broke the 100m record in an era when drugs testing was sporadic, died in 1998.

A number of other records in women’s sport have remained untouched since the 80s including the 400m, 800m, high jump, long jump, discus and shot put. They were all set by athletes from countries in the then eastern bloc.

“Legally, they are the existing records,” said the World Athletics president. “Legally, there’s nothing you can do or say beyond the evidence of a positive test. But this was my era so I have to accept it was a time when testing was a bit sporadic. We know it was a different era. There are records there that you look at and go, there’s nothing legally we can do about them but they may not be the safest records on the book.”

Lord Coe said it was impossible to strike the old records, but suggested the advent of super spikes and faster tracks could see more of them broken in the coming years. “I would prefer that there is an organic change through the Shericka Jacksons, who are now being tested regularly,” he added. “We have the Athletics Integrity Unit, we have their own national anti-doping agency that is now working far better than it was when I came into office, you’ve got agencies around the world.”

Asked to compare the modern era with the 80s, Coe added: “It’s a different world. I was part of that world so I’m not saying I was significantly different to anyone else there – well, I wasn’t a cheat. But the reality is there is very little legally you can do and I think we have to be realistic about it.

“There’s nothing that I’m in a position to do to rewrite the record books but I’m open about it – some of these records are not safe records.”

However, Coe, who himself set an 800m world record in 1981 that remained unbroken until 1997, admitted he felt some sympathy for those stuck behind the iron curtain who were forced to dope by their governments. “When you look at athletes that had to come through that system, you have more sympathy than you do for the athletes who chose, of their own volition in liberal democracies, to do it,” the double Olympic champion added.

(07/23/2022) Views: 158 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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America’s Garrett Scantling, the world’s top ranked decathlete this year, has been provisionally suspended for an anti-doping violation

It means the 29-year-old from Florida will not take part in this year’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, where the decathlon events are due to take place tomorrow and Sunday (July 23 and 24).

Scantling, fourth at last year’s re-arranged Olympic Games in Tokyo, was provisionally suspended for a possible tampering violation stemming from a possible third whereabouts failure over missing drug tests or not filing complete information to be found for drug testing, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced.

Scantling, who previously tried out for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, won the US Championships in May with 8,867 points, the highest score in the world this year which put him seventh on the all-time list, ahead of Britain’s double Olympic champion Daley Thompson.

But his name was conspicuous by his absence when USA Track & Field announced its team earlier this month for the World Championships.

"Under the provisional suspension, Scantling is prohibited from competing in any competitions under the jurisdiction of World Athletics, USA Track & Field, or the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, pending the resolution of his case," USADA said.

"As such, he will not compete in the decathlon event at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon."

Athletes face suspensions if they have three whereabouts failures in an 18-month period.

Whereabouts failures can be not being present for a drug test or not providing complete and accurate information to be found for drug tests.

"Unfortunately, there’s no leniency for being forgetful, you have to accept responsibility and move on," Scantling said on Instagram.

"What’s next?

"We shall see!"

USADA said Scantling agreed to have his provisional suspension made public while his case is pending.

He is the second high-profile American athlete to be ruled out of Eugene due to missing drugs tests.

Randolph Ross, who won Olympic gold last summer as part of the United States 4x400 metres relay team, was prevented from taking part after the Athletics Integrity Unit were unable to conduct an out-of-competition test on him last month.

(07/22/2022) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
by Duncan Mackay
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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Lawrence Cherono of Kenya suspended after testing positive for trimetazidine

The seventh-fastest marathoner of all time, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono, who was one of the favourites to win the marathon at the 2022 World Championships, has been provisionally suspended on the day before the race after testing positive for a banned substance. Cherono tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine, which is used to treat chest pain resulting from a lack of blood supply and oxygen to the heart. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a press release that there were delays in the processing of his test sample, which was taken on May 23. The delay made it impossible for another athlete to take his spot on Team Kenya.The drug trimetazidine helps metabolize fatty acids, which helps your body use oxygen, allowing for more blood flow to your heart and limits quick changes in your blood pressure.The 33-year-old Kenyan finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and won both Boston and the Chicago Marathon in 2019. Cherono has a personal best time of 2:03:04 from the 2020 Valencia Marathon, where he finished second.Back-to-back NCAA champion and U.S. 400m Olympian Randolph Ross was also kicked out from the World Athletics Championships on the day before his race for tampering with the antidoping process after an unsuccessful testing attempt on June 18. 

The AIU announced on Saturday that Ross will be provisionally suspended a month after officials failed to locate him to take an anti-doping test. Ross won the Olympic gold with the U.S. 4x400m relay team in Tokyo.According to the AIU, athletes must give anti-doping authorities detailed lists of where they’ll be so testers can reach them without notice to collect samples when the athletes are not competing. In some cases, three missed tries can result in an anti-doping violation. AIU did not release the specifics of Ross’ case, other than to say that “the allegation arises out of the athlete’s conduct during an investigation into a potential whereabouts violation.”

The 2022 World Athletics Championships are taking place from July 15-25 from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. All the action will be brought to you by Canadian Running and Asics Canada. Follow us on Twitter on Instagram for all things Team Canada and up-to-date exclusive news and content.efore the race after testing positive for a banned substance. 

(07/17/2022) Views: 122 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Olympic 800m medalist Nijel Amos suspended for doping

The third fastest 800m runner of all time, Botswana’s Nijel Amos has been provisionally suspended ahead of this week’s World Championships, after the 2012 Olympic silver medallist tested positive for a banned metabolite, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

The drug found in the 28-year-old’s system was GW1516, which modifies how the body metabolizes fat, and which can boost endurance. An AIU press release said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also warned that it poses a health risk to athletes.

GW1516 was originally developed to treat obesity and diabetes, but is not approved for human use, since it was discovered to be carcinogenic. It is banned in and out of competition, and not eligible for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). A USADA bulletin from 2019 says GW1516 is also sometimes known as cardarine or endurobol and has been found in some supplements, even though it is illegal. In 2017, there were 31 sanctions worldwide related to its use. 

The AIU collected the sample from Amos during an out-of-competition test on June 4. Amos was notified of the result while he was preparing for the World Championships in Eugene, Ore., where he was scheduled to compete in the heats of the 800m on July 20. He finished eighth in the 800m final at Tokyo 2020. At Rio in 2016, he failed to make it out of the heats.

Amos’s silver in the 800m from the London Olympics was Botswana’s first Olympic medal and ranks as the third-fastest 800m time ever (1:41.73) behind Kenya’s David Rudisha (1:40.91) and Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11).

Amos has spent his last six seasons training with Mark Rowland and the Nike Oregon Track Club. Rowland recently left the club to start a new role as a coach with the Athletics Canada West Hub.

The AIU says the length of his suspension will be determined at a later date.

(07/13/2022) Views: 193 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Shelby Houlihan loses her final appeal

Two-time American record holder Shelby Houlihan, who is serving a four-year ban after failing a drug test in late 2020, has lost her final appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. Houlihan will now have to serve the entirety of her ban and will be eligible to compete again in January 2025.

The news was announced on her Instagram. “I was told from the start it was a long shot,” Houlihan wrote. “The truth hasn’t won here and it’s devastating.” The 11-time U.S. champion on the track continues to maintain that she did not knowingly dope and that the ban is unfair.

In December 2020 Houlihan tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, and in June 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) handed her a four-year ban from the sport. After the ban was announced, Houlihan claimed the positive result was due to contaminated meat from a burrito food truck consumed the night before she was tested.

Houlihan appealed the ban and attempted to prove her innocence, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ruling against her, stating that “The Athlete’s explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Houlihan launched a GoFundMe page to help pay her legal fees. In a final effort to have the ban overturned, she appealed to the high court of the Swiss Federal Tribunal in late 2021. Last week, the Tribunal made the decision to dismiss her appeal due to the lack of evidence.

Houlihan’s name no longer appears on the Bowerman TC website but is still a Nike athlete. Last month, Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford left Bowerman TC, after spending almost two years with the club, citing confusion around Houlihan’s presence and involvement with the club despite being banned.

(05/19/2022) Views: 263 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Kenyan long-distance runner Joyce Chepkirui has been banned for four years

The 33-year-old won the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and also took the African title over the same distance in Marrakech that year.

Chepkirui has been provisionally suspended since June 2019, after an expert panel studied anomalies in blood samples collected by World Athletics between 2016 and 2017.

The panel concluded the "likelihood of the abnormalities in results being due to blood manipulation" - the artificial increase of red blood cells using a stimulant - was "high".

Chepkirui explained the results by saying she suffered from hormone imbalance and vaginal bleeding, which was caused by a contraceptive injected every three months, had an iron-rich diet and took three drugs to treat these conditions.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) decided to ban Chepkirui after upholding an appeal filed by the Athletics Integrity Unit, and her four-year period of ineligibility has been backdated to the start of her provisional suspension.

Chepkirui's results between 6 April 2016 and 4 August 2017 - which include a third-placed finish in the Boston Marathon in April 2016 - will be disqualified and she will be required to forfeit any medals, prizes and appearance fees gained in that time.

Meanwhile, Cas have ruled the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya should pay 2,000 Swiss Francs (US$2,140) to World Athletics as a contribution towards its legal costs and other expenses.

Kenya is still listed as a category A nation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), meaning the country remains a high risk for doping.

As a result, Kenyan athletes still need to undergo three out of competition tests in a 10-month period before a World Championships or Olympic Games.

BBC Sport Africa understands Athletics Kenya had been hoping to be removed from the category A classification.

(04/13/2022) Views: 303 ⚡AMP
by BBC sports
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Russian racewalker Yelena Lashmanova loses Olympic and world titles after anti-doping violation

Russian racewalker Yelena Lashmanova, who won Olympic gold in world-record fashion at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, will be stripped of her gold medal after breaching World Athletics anti-doping rules. Her Olympic title won’t be the only gold she will lose, as the 20 km racewalk title from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow will also be removed.

Lashmanova won women’s 20 km racewalk at the London Olympics in a world record time of 1:25:02, which is four minutes and 15 seconds per kilometre. She has now been banned for two years, which started last year, for the use of prohibited substances.

According to World Athletics, Lashmanova has accepted the sanction proposed by the Athletics Integrity Unit, which includes the disqualification of her results between Feb. 18, 2012 and Jan. 3, 2014.

China’s Qieyang Shenjie and Liu Hong, who originally came second and third in London, have been upgraded to gold and silver. Lashmanova’s removal completes the Chinese sweep of the podium, as Lu Xiuzhi moved up into the bronze-medal position.

The new gold medallist, Shenjie, initially finished in the bronze-medal position but was upgraded to silver when Lashmanova’s teammate, Olga Kaniskina, was disqualified in 2016, also for a doping violation.

All three Russian racewalkers who competed in the women’s 20 km event are now disqualified. Anisya Kirdyapkina, who finished fifth, was disqualified in 2019.

Russia won eight gold medals in athletics at the London Olympics; now their gold medal count stands at two.

400m hurdler Natalya Antyukh and high-jumper Anna Chicherova remain as the only two Russian gold medallists from the London Olympics who have not been disqualified.

In 2020, Antyukh was charged with doping violations dating back to 2013, while Chicherova tested positive for the banned substance turinabol (an anabolic steroid), which resulted in the removal of her 2008 Olympic bronze high-jump medal.

Despite previous doping violations, both Antyukh’s and Chicherova’s Olympic gold medals still stand.

(03/26/2022) Views: 260 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata has been banned for 19 months and Edward Kiprop Kibet has received a 3-year suspension

Two prominent Kenyan marathoners have been suspended from competition on doping charges, according to a report by Capital Sports. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has banned Paul Lonyangata for 19 months for use of the drug Furosemide, and Edward Kiprop Kibet has been banned for three years for nandrolone.

Lonyangata won the Paris Marathon in 2017 and 2018, and was the third-place finisher in 2019. One week after the 2019 race, he admitted to using the banned substance Furosemide, after it was found in an out-of-competition sample in September.

Furosemide is a heart medication, but it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances because it can mask the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

Lonyangata rose to fame in 2017, not only because he won the Paris Marathon, but because his wife, Purity Rionoripo, won the women’s race on the same day.

Lonyangata will be banned from competition until May 25, 2023. His fellow countryman, Kibet, will be banned from all competition until February 2025, after testing positive for nandrolone, the same substance found in Shelby Houlihan’s sample last year, for which she was given a four-year ban.

(03/08/2022) Views: 315 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare receives 10-year doping ban

The Athletics Integrity Unit has handed Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare a 10-year ban for doping violations, which will effectively end her career. The 33-year-old was sent home from the Tokyo Games before the semi-final of the women’s 100m, for which she had qualified automatically before a previous positive test for human growth hormone came to light.

On July 30, Okagbare won her 100m heat in Tokyo, despite having tested positive out-of-competition on July 19.

In October, according to a Reuters report, she was charged with three doping violations, including the use of human growth hormone, a previous positive test for EPO (from June 2021) and refusing to hand over documentation requested by investigators.

According to a report in the Independent, the athlete received five years for using multiple banned substances and five years for refusing to co-operate with an investigation. (The standard doping ban is for four years.)

Okagbare won bronze in the 200m at the 2013 World Championships and is an Olympic and World Championship medalist in the long jump. She holds the Commonwealth Games record in the 100m at 10.85, set in Glasgow in 2014.

(02/18/2022) Views: 267 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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World 100 meters champion Christian Coleman to make his return from 18 months suspension at Millrose Games

Christian Coleman, who served an 18-month ban for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules, plans to race for the first time in nearly two years at New York's Millrose Games, the American told Reuters.

Millrose Gemes will be his first since February 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-doping suspension curtailed the 25-year-old's career.

"I think it will be emotional to get out there and finally display my talents again," the indoor 60m world record holder said by telephone from Lexington, Kentucky, where he trains.

The Atlanta sprinter had been given a two-year suspension by an independent tribunal of track and field's Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) before it was reduced to 18 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Under the so-called whereabouts rule, elite athletes must make themselves available for random out-of-competition testing and state a location and one-hour window where they can be found on any given day.

"I think it comes down to being more responsible," said Coleman, 25, who has never failed a doping test but was suspended after three failures to be at a location provided to anti-doping officials.

"Those are the rules and I just have to do better."

An alarm on his phone that reminds him to update his schedule daily and a new doorbell that alerts him to visitors are helping to prepare for testers, he said.

Training continued throughout most of the suspension, which ended in November, and he had begun speed work, Coleman said.

He does not see Millrose as just a trial run.

"I want to win," said Coleman. "I think I have a higher standard for myself than just being back out there and being average."

He said he would see how his body feels before determining his indoor season, though defending his world indoor 60m title in March in Belgrade is definitely on his schedule.

"The ultimate goal is to be ready for the world (outdoor) championships" said Coleman.

That meet in Eugene, Oregon in July will be the first World Championships held in the United States.

Whether Coleman will just defend his 100m title or add the 200 remains to be seen but he plans to run both during the regular season.

While he said he had "come to terms" with missing the Tokyo Games because of his suspension he wants to compete in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles four years later.

Beyond that, Usain Bolt's 100m world record of 9.58 seconds remains on his bucket list.

"As time goes on, I think it is possible," said the American, who ran a personal best of 9.76 in winning the 2019 world championships.

Coleman said he wanted to be remembered as "one of the great competitors in sport".

"I want people to think of me as one of the legends, one of the great sprinters who have come through the USA ranks," he added.

(12/20/2021) Views: 407 ⚡AMP
by Gene Cherry
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NYRR Millrose Games

NYRR Millrose Games

The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...

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World Athletics has released its 2022 Label Road Race calendar

World Athletics has today released its 2022 Label Road Race calendar, a schedule comprising almost 200 races in more than 40 countries across each of the sport's six areas.

The calendar kicks off with the 10K Valencia in the Spanish city on 9 January and concludes almost 12 months later on 31 December with the traditional New Year’s Eve races in Madrid, Spain, and Bolzano, Italy.

While the schedule remains subject to change given the ongoing uncertainty created by the global coronavirus pandemic, more races are expected to join the Label programme once it is confirmed that they will take place.

The three-tier programme, introduced in 2020, comprises three Labels: a World Athletics Label, a World Athletics Elite Label and a World Athletics Elite Platinum Label.

“Despite the continued uncertainty around global travel and on mass gatherings in some parts of the world, the number of events that have chosen to be part of the World Athletics Label Road Races programme in 2022 exceeds 200 – another all-time high – but some of the events need additional confirmation given the global pandemic,” said World Athletics Road Running Manager Alessio Punzi. “This speaks volumes of the vitality of the running industry and of the optimism of operators worldwide.

“Over the last two years alone, millions of people around the world have taken up running as a way to manage their physical and mental health – many of them will pin a race bib to their vest for the first time in 2022. We are grateful to all the race directors and their teams for their determination and tenacity. Staging marathons has never been easy, but in this day and age its complexities are mind-boggling. Now, more than ever, every race's starting line is a testament to its organisers' resilience and sheer passion for the sport and the community they serve.”

The World Athletics Label is available to all officially sanctioned road races that have taken place for at least two consecutive years prior to 2022 with an international measurement certificate in place. For first-time Labels in 2022, a World Athletics technical consultant will be appointed to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.

World Athletics Elite Label races must have a prize money structure in place that awards at least the top eight finishers, with minimum winner's prizes of US$ 15,000 (marathons) and $7500 (other distances), per gender.

The World Athletics Elite Platinum Label is only available to races that had been granted Platinum status in 2021, irrespective of whether the race took place or not.

Through choosing to have a World Athletics Label, race organizers also show a tangible commitment to clean sport by funding a dedicated road racing out-of-competition testing programme, managed by the Athletics Integrity Unit.

New Normal the key theme at 2022 Global Running Conference

The role of running events in a changed world will be the main focus at the World Athletics Global Running Conference in Bangkok on 24-25 February 2022.

All Label road race organizers are encouraged to attend, either in person or virtually, to hear insights from fellow race organizers. A series of technical workshops, including one on road race course measurement, will also be staged in cooperation with the Athletics Association of Thailand and the Asian Athletics Association, to train international and national race officials, further contributing to the development of the sport.22 Lab

(12/17/2021) Views: 339 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Shelby Houlihan starts GoFundMe page to fund her legal fight

Five months after receiving a four-year ban from competition, American 1,500m and 5,00m record-holder Shelby Houlihan has started a GoFundMe page and website asking for support to help pay for the legal fees she’s incurred while fighting her case. She has set a goal for $300,000, and is asking her supporters to spread the word about what she calls “the injustice of the situation.”

A brief recap

In December 2020 Houlihan tested positive for the steroid nandrolone and in June 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) handed her a four-year ban from the sport. After the ban was announced, she made a public statement on her Instagram page stating her innocence and claimed the positive result was due to contaminated meat she ate in a burrito from a food truck on the day of the test.

Houlihan appealed the ban and attempted to prove her innocence, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ruling against her. The entire 44-page CAS decision was made was released in early September, which included the following statement:

“The Athlete’s explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

As a final effort to fight her ban, Houlihan has since announced that she plans to appeal her case to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

Her bid for help has drawn mixed reviews from running fans. Those who believe in her innocence have been eager to support her cause, but detractors are arguing she should accept her ban and move on.

Many more have wondered why someone who is supposedly still backed by Nike requires financial assistance, and have speculated that the brand may be backing away from the situation, but the chatter is largely hearsay, since neither Houlihan nor Nike have made any public statement regarding their relationship. Houlihan’s case will not be brought before the Swiss Tribunal until 2022.

(11/26/2021) Views: 426 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare charged with three anti-doping offences

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been charged with three offences by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

She was suspended during the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on 19 July.

 

The 32-year-old later tested positive for another banned substance, recombinant erythropoietin (EPO), which increases red blood cell count.

She has also been charged for not co-operating with the AIU's investigation.

The AIU alleges Okagbare "failed to comply with a formal requirement to produce relevant documents, records and electronic storage devices" to the investigation.

Okagbare - a rival to Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith - had won her 100m heat in Tokyo before being pulled out of the Games.

Okagbare, Olympic long jump silver medalist in Beijing in 2008, denies all the charges.

(10/07/2021) Views: 346 ⚡AMP
by Athletics
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Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare loses appeal, begins four-year ban over banned drugs, but she may return before Paris 2024 Olympics

Blessing Okagbare, may have lost her battle to upturn the suspension placed on her by World Athletics (WA) after failing an out-of-competition test.

The U.S.-based sprinter was thrown out of the Tokyo Olympics Games on the eve of the semifinals of the women’s 100m after testing positive for human growth hormone. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) revealed then that Okagbare failed an out-of-competition test taken on July 19. She appealed against the suspension immediately, insisting on seeing the result of her B Sample.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Okagbare, a medallist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, was allegedly handed four-year ban after the result of her B Sample came out with the same result.

“Okagbare started her four-year ban long ago,” a source close to World Athletics (WA) said in a chat with The Guardian. “It is just unfortunate Blessing Okagbare found herself in this mess. When the result of her A Sample came out, Okagbare had the option of accepting it, which could have seen her ban reduced to two or three years, but she insisted on her B Sample. I pity her though, but WA wants all athletes to compete and win clean. Okagbare’s ban may elapse before the Paris 2024 Olympics,” the official stated.

Okagbare had won her heat on Friday (July 30), and was meant to compete in the women’s 100 metres semifinals the next day, when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) officially announced her suspension in the morning.

The AIU explained then that the Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list, and a provisional suspension on Okagbare was mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics anti-doping rules.

“The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at midday Central European Time on Friday, July 30.

“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo.”

Efforts to speak with Blessing Okagbare were unsuccessful yesterday.

(09/16/2021) Views: 338 ⚡AMP
by Gowon Akpodonor
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Time for Shelby Houlihan to come clean

Two things ought to happen now that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued a technically detailed but, in the end, common-sense ruling in the matter of Shelby Houlihan, the American distance runner, banning her for four years for nandrolone — through January 2025 — while thoroughly rejecting the ridiculous burrito defense.

One, Houlihan ought to come clean.

What most likely happened?

We don’t and won’t know until Houlihan admits whatever it was. But, see paragraph 128 of this very thorough 44-page ruling, citing the head of the Montreal anti-doping lab, Christiane Ayotte, who notes that oral precursors of nandrolone can readily be bought on the internet, even on Amazon, and that a chemical signature very much like the one Houlihan tested for was obtained five years ago when that very lab tested a product it had bought called “Nor-Andro Max.”

Two, all the journalistic sheep who wanted to believe, who maybe still want to believe despite the overwhelming evidence against Houlihan, that there was no way, just no way, a white American distance runner affiliated with the Bowerman Track Club could test positive — all these people, and the readers they misled, ought to take a crash course in Doping 101 and the things people will say and do, meaning anything and everything, to avoid getting busted.

This entire saga, truthfully, has been pathetic.

This burrito defense has, from the get-go, stretched the bounds of credulity, and anyone who bought it — even for a second — needs to undergo a real-world moron test.

Do you also believe pigs can fly? (‘Pigs’ used advisedly here.) Do you think Abraham Lincoln is a vampire slayer? Are you super-confident you can beat up a grizzly bear?

Almost every single facet of Houlihan’s defense was — is — absurd.

To be clear: not blaming Houlihan’s lawyers for aggressively scheming up any and every avenue possible. That’s what they’re there for.

But the three-judge panel went to great length — again, 44 pages — to refute, carefully, virtually everything about it.

For instance:

Houlihan took a lie detector test.

She was asked, did you at any time knowingly ingest nandrolone? And answered no. She was also asked, did you intentionally ingest the drug nandrolone? And said, no.

But as the panel pointed out, here’s what she wasn’t asked: did you take doping substances at the material time?

Houlihan also submitted to hair analysis. All involved agreed that it proved that nandrolone injections could be excluded. But, the panel found, that analysis failed to take into account oral (so we’re all on the same page here, something you eat or drink) precursors of nandrolone, such as “19-nor-DHEA” and “nor-Andro.”

Which is why it boggles the mind, truly, that an outlet such as Women’s Running would, in the second paragraph of its account of this ruling, prattle on this way:

“CAS decided that although Houlihan was a credible witness and brought ‘compelling character witness evidence in support of her defense,’ she failed to establish the source of the nandrolone that was detected in her urine.”

This is the second paragraph?!

Who cares if Shelby Houlihan is or is not a nice person and can or cannot get through a lie detector when asked certain questions? That’s all but irrelevant when it comes to the science in this case. As for her “compelling character witness evidence?” Ha! That’s a complete misread of what is what. Offering statements or testifying on her behalf were, among others, her former boyfriend, Matthew Centrowitz, gold medalist in the men’s 1500 at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Courtney Frerichs, the surprise silver medalist in the women’s steeplechase a few weeks ago in Tokyo, and Karissa Schweizer, who competed in Tokyo in both the women’s 5k (11th) and 10k (12th), and if you don’t think the Athletics Integrity Unit took careful observation of who was in Houlihan’s inner circle, maybe you seriously do believe pigs can fly.

The first paragraph of the Women’s Running story, what in journalism circles is called the lede, also noted — accurately — the CAS observation that Houlihan’s explanation was “possible but unlikely.”

As if that were justification.

Everything in life is possible.

But here’s what CAS also said, and be mindful that the burden of proof in this matter was on Houlihan, and so if this were a math contest, she had to get to 50.1, but instead her defense “presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Herewith the cascade:

— Houlihan ordered a carne asada — that is, a steak — burrito at a food truck in Beaverton, Oregon, near Portland. For her defense to work, she would have had to have been served and eaten pork.

The entire defense rests on this premise. A wrong order. Which she then ate. But that’s not all.

— Because the pork would have not been ‘normal’ pork but, per the Houlihan defense, uncastrated boar.

— Except uncastrated boar gets into the U.S. food chain through completely different channels than pork. So for uncastrated boar to end up in the normal pork food chain, the boar must have been a specimen with undescended testicles. This is called ‘cryptorchid.’

At this point, this is already verging on bizarre if not crazy stupid. Undescended testicled boar. OK.

— Except there’s more. The cryptorchid is (or was) of a “small minority of uncastrated boars that — in addition — must have had elevated androgen levels.” That would be “abnormal” for 6-month-old pigs.

— More still. The pork product Houlihan allegedly ate, despite ordering steak, is pork stomach. Follow along here because this gets into butcher-level stuff. When people eat pork stomach, that stomach is stripped of the inner layer; only the outer muscle remains. Houlihan’s assertion was that uncastrated boars have elevated androgen levels. Except those are not found in the muscle. Those levels are found only in specific parts — the kidneys, testes or liver. Pork stomach, the panel said, has one of the lowest androgen levels.

— More science. The nandrolone metabolite levels in Houlihan’s urine were two to three times higher than the highest values in the literature after eating much more significant quantities of mature (uncastrated) boar — a product different from the alleged cryptorchid in question, which would have been slaughtered at six months.

— Agriculturally speaking, the carbon isotope signature of the metabolite in her urine was “fundamentally inconsistent” with the largely corn-based diet of commercial pigs in the United States.

— Finally, an expert witness said the chance of a cryptorchid ending up in the normal supply chain in the United States is “far less” than one in 10,000.

Beyond which, see paragraph 104 on page 30, and come on now, there’s this:

“The fact that IBP/Tyson (the plant where the food truck in Beaverton bought the pork meat from) does not operate a boar kill plant. Thus, it is ‘near zero chance’ that any boar meat would get mixed with conventional fresh pork products.”

All this leaves the obvious question, doesn’t it:

if the slaughterhouse doesn’t operate a boar kill plant, and thus there’s essentially no chance of boar meat getting in the food chain with pork other than, hmm, aliens dropping in from Galaxy Starchaser Nebula X9 to surreptitiously teleport it in there and so the food truck had a “near zero” chance of having boar meat on the night in question and, besides, Houlihan ordered a steak burrito, anyway — what really happened here?

Time for Shelby Houlihan to come clean.

She likely will dodge this opportunity until after the Swiss Federal Tribunal issues the final no-go — understand that the SFT takes up procedural matters, not substantive, so her chance of success there is, again, “near zero” — but she would do the right thing, now, by coming clean.

Time, too, for her supporters, defenders and enablers to see the light. It’s tough when your purported heroes get tagged for doping. But before all of you go out and buy Floyd Landis’ book about how he didn’t cheat to win the Tour de France — oops.

Some of us have been down this road before. This burrito defense — this was creative, indeed. But that didn’t make it any smarter, or better.

Pigs don’t fly. That’s the truth.

(09/11/2021) Views: 484 ⚡AMP
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CAS report on Shelby Houlihan explains reasons for four-year ban

In June, American 1,500m record-holder Shelby Houlihan was given a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone in December 2020. The Bowerman Track Club athlete appealed the ban and attempted to prove her innocence, since the athlete was hoping to race at the U.S. Olympic trials, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld her suspension. The AIU has now released the 44-page decision into her case, upholding the ban. Houlihan will not be able to compete until January, 2025.

To recap, the substance found in Houlihan’s sample was nandrolone, specifically 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), a steroid sometimes found in pork offal (pig organ meat). She claimed the positive result was due to having ingested pork offal in burrito from a food truck the night before she was tested, but the CAS did not accept her explanation and upheld the AIU’s charge. Houlihan also submitted a hair test and a lie detector test, both supporting her innocence, but these were found to be inadequate.

The decision included the following statement regarding the evidence against Houlihan:

“The Athlete’s explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Specifically, the CAS panel found that though it was possible that Houlihan unwittingly ingested the meat of an uncastrated boar, for various reasons it was highly unlikely, and moreover, that even if she had, it would not account for the relatively high levels of nandrolone found in her samples. It found that the nandrolone found in her samples was consistent with that found in products commonly sold on the Internet for the purpose of enhancing athletic performance.

Several of Houlihan’s teammates defended her as a clean athlete, including Courtney Frerichs, who was with her when she ate the burrito (and who ate from the same food truck). Frerich’s sister, Lindsey Frerichs, who also ate with them that night, provided a witness statement, as did Bowerman coach Shalane Flanagan and athletes Matt Centrowitz (whom Houlihan was dating at the time) and Karissa Schweizer.

Despite their testimonies, the court found Houlihan to be guilty, saying she failed to provide a plausible explanation for the presence of nandrolone in her urine sample, and concluded that the anti-doping rule violation she was charged with must have been intentional.

The ban forced Houlihan to miss the U.S. Olympic trials and the Tokyo Olympics, where she was assumed to be a medal favourite, and it will prevent her from competing at the upcoming World Championships and the Paris 2024 Summer Games.

Editor’s update Sept. 3, 2021: According to a story on LetsRun.com, Houlihan plans to appeal her case to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

(09/04/2021) Views: 316 ⚡AMP
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Double Olympic gold medalist Derartu Tulu claims Ethiopian drug problems caused by athletes chasing quick money

Tulu has accused Ethiopian runners of chasing “quick money” and turning to performance-enhancing drugs to help them.

Ethiopia are one of seven countries currently listed as a category A nation by the Athletics Integrity Unit, meaning they considered more at risk at doping that others.

Restoring their reputation is seen as one of Tulu’s main tasks following her election as permanent President of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) last December.

Tulu, the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she triumphed at Barcelona 1992, had been serving in the role since November 2018 following the resignation of fellow distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.

Doping products are reportedly easily available in Addis Ababa, World Athletics has warned.

Following their inclusion on the category A list, the EAF launched a major education programme among young athletes to warn them of the dangers of doping.

"In our time, we used to compete clean," Tulu told The Daily Nation in Kenya during the recent World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi.

"Sheer talent drove us to victory, and it was healthy competition but today the desire for quick money is pushing athletes to use drugs.

"That is why you see some athlete doing well for a short time before disappearing after few years."

Tulu’s first Olympic victory in Barcelona entered Games legend when she beat Elena Meyer in an iconic race at South Africa's first Games appearance since the end of apartheid.

Then, eight years later in Sydney, Tulu won her second 10,000m title before returning at Athens 2004 to win a bronze medal.

Tulu's victory at Barcelona 1992 saw Ethiopia win their first Olympic gold medal for 12 years.

Since then, they have won at least one gold medal in every Olympic Games.

Their best performance came at Beijing 2008 when they won a total of seven medals - four gold, two silver and a bronze.

Ethiopia only won one gold medal at Tokyo 2020 - Selemon Barega in the men’s 10,000m – along with a silver and two bronze, their worst performance since Barcelona 1992.

"Athletics is changing, and we need to change with time," Tulu told The Daily Nation.

"Many countries are coming up fast.

"We witnessed this during the 2020 Olympic Games.

"Competition has become tougher, but we are constantly trying to nurture new talents."

(08/31/2021) Views: 439 ⚡AMP
by Duncan Mackay
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Ten track and field nigerians banned from Olympics for missed doping tests protest in Tokyo

Nigerian athletes protested in Tokyo on Friday after they were disqualified from the Olympics for failing to meet anti-doping testing requirements, reports said.

Ten would-be Olympians were banned from competing in the track and field competition after Nigerian sports officials allegedly failed to properly register them for three mandatory out-of-competition tests, Nigeria’s Premium Times reported.

The Ministry of Sports and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria said the athletes’ tests did not meet collection and analysis standards and the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles the anti-doping program for the sport, said the athletes didn’t meet the testing requirements, the outlet reported.

“The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances will not be negatively impacted,” the AFN said in response.

“All our athletes resident in Nigeria and who qualified for the Olympic Games completed the three mandatory tests. Most of our top athletes resident in the USA also completed their tests. However, a few athletes in the American collegiate system were tested but those tests were deemed not to have complied with… sample collection and analysis standards.”

But the star runners claim the snafu wasn’t their fault and held signs with messages like “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence” and “We are not just alternates but potential medalists.”

The 2020 Olympics is the first time since 2012 that Nigerians have two athletes competing in the semifinals of the 100m women’s race after runners Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha made the cut in pre-qualifying events.

The AFN noted no Nigerian athlete tested positive for prohibited substances.

(07/30/2021) Views: 479 ⚡AMP
by Gabrielle Fonrouge
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Athletics Kenya (AK) have named World 2019 bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto as Geoffrey Kamworor's replacement in Kenya's 10,000 meters team for the Tokyo

Geoffrey Kamworor, who sustained an ankle injury in training this week, was a big medal prospect in the team that also has national cross country champion Rodgers Kwemoi and Weldon Kipkirui. 

The two left the country last Friday and will be competing in the final on July 30 where Kenya is expected to bag its first medal in athletics.

Kipruto, World Under-20 10,000m champion, withdrew from the Kenyan trials with five laps to go.

General Team Manager for the Tokyo Olympic Games Barnaba Korir said Kipruto has officially joined the team after clearance from World Athletics and necessary paperwork is ongoing.

“We are pleased to announce that Rhonex Kipruto is the latest inclusion to our athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics. He has already reported at Kasarani Stadium where the remaining part of team Kenya are in residential training in a bubble camp.

"The decision was arrived at after AK sought clearance from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on his anti-doping testing status, which I am pleased to say he has been given the green light,” Korir said via his official Facebook page.

Kipruto told Nation Sport that he is happy to get a chance to represent Kenya in what will be his first appearance at the Olympics. 

“I’m really sorry for my good friend Kamworor and I want to wish him quick recovery so that he can continue with his career. On my part I’m delighted becaue I will be able to represent my country once again and we will work hard to win something good for our country,” said Kipruto.

He also revealed to Nation Sport that his first Covid-19 test came out negative and he was going to be tested for the second time, a requirement before jetting out for the Games in Tokyo.

“I got the results and they are negative. We are doing another test just to be sure because this is now a requirement before travelling,” said Kipruto. 

Kipruto is currently the fastest man in 10km on the road having clocked world record time of 26:24 after lowering Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei’s time of 26:38 in Valencia, Spain in 2020.

The two will clash again when they line up for the 10,000m final on Friday after Cheptegei floored Kipruto during the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar winning gold ahead of Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha who took silver with KIpruto settling for bronze.

“We shall be battling out again with Cheptegei whom we have met in various races. He is a good athlete but I don’t want to say much for now but just to give my best, teamwork will be paramount,” he added.

(07/28/2021) Views: 529 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Ban on cannabis, should be reviewed says World Athletics president Seb Coe

The rules on the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has said in the wake of the case that meant Sha'Carri Richardson, winner of the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic trials, missing Tokyo 2020.

Richardson accepted a 30-day ban, and the qualifying results she achieved were annulled, after she tested positive for the banned recreational drug during the trials.

The 21-year-old said she had been under emotional stress after learning of the recent death of her biological mother.

In response to questions on the issue, Coe has said a review is now sensible and "it should be" done, Reuters reports.

Coe added: "I am sorry for her that we have lost an outstanding talent [from the Olympic Games]", but said that existing rules were interpreted correctly.

The World Athletics President said he had asked the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on reassessing marijuana’s place on the prohibited list.

Coe, who believes the matter is a question for experts at the AIU and the WADA to determine, said Richardson’s absence was "a loss to the competition" but predicted "she will bounce back".

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code classifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, as a "Substance of Abuse".

Athletes found to use it outside of competition face a three-month ban, although in this case the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Richardson for 30 days as long as she also undertook a treatment programme.

Discussion on this matter is not expected to take place during the World Athletics Council’s two-day meeting that starts tomorrow before the Olympic track and field programme begins on Friday (July 30) - at least officially.

What will be under consideration is a determination of the hosts for the 2023 World Athletics Relays, held this year in Poland, the newly-established 2023 World Road Running Championships, and next year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, where a replacement is being sought for original host Minsk.

World Athletics cited "uncertainties around diplomatic relations and international travel restrictions with regard to Belarus" when stripping Minsk of hosting rights earlier this year, with protests continuing after the controversial re-election Alexander Lukashenko as the country’s President last August and many nations imposing sanctions on Belarus.

There will also be a report from World Athletics' Russia Taskforce at the Council meeting.

Day two of the meeting is understood to involve commission and working group reports.

(07/27/2021) Views: 407 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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World 1500m champion added to Kenyan Olympic team as 18-year-old dropped

World 1500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot, left out of the Kenyan Olympic team after finishing outside the top three qualifying places at last month’s trials, has been added to the squad for Tokyo 2020. 

Cheruiyot, pictured limping away from the trials with a hamstring injury, won the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco last Friday (July 9) in a personal best of 3min 28.28sec, the fastest time run since 2015 and seventh best ever.

The 25-year-old from Bomet expressed hopes after his win that he would be able try to add the Olympic gold medal to his world title and he is now due to do that against a field that will include his perennial 20-year-old Norwegian rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen, European record holder with 3:28.68.

"I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team," Cheruiyot, now the favourite for gold, told Agence-France Presse. 

 "I am in better shape than I was during the trials and I promise to deliver a medal for Kenya in Tokyo."

Cheruiyot’s addition has been made possible by the ineligibility of the relatively unknown 18-year-old who finished second at the trials, Kamar Etyang.

He has had to be removed from the team because he does not have the minimum number of three out-of-competition tests that Kenyan athletes must fulfil in the 10 months before any major championship following the country’s placement in category A of the World Athletics and World Anti-Doping Agency watchlist.

Kenya's Olympics general team manager Barnaba Korir told The Nation that Athletics Kenya had petitioned the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) over the issue of Etyang without success.

"It’s really unfortunate that Etyang had to be dropped due to the AIU rules which require one to be tested three times out of competition," Korir said.

"We have explained this to the athlete and he has understood the situation we are in."

He added that the AIU were unable to make exceptions to the ruling.

"We were in the same situation in 2019 when two athletes Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiu were dropped from the team that was heading to the World Championships [in Doha]," Korir said.

"This is because Kenya is in category A and we need to strictly follow the rules so that we can get out of the woods in future."

Cheruiyot had made it clear after his Monaco victory that he was hopeful of being in the team for Tokyo 2020.

"I missed competition a lot after spending a lot of time in Kenya where I had a few issues like my hamstring injury and after also losing a relative in my family on the day of the Kenyan trials explaining why I missed out on making the team," he said.

"I am therefore happy I am back again after all this.

"Hopefully that will be the deciding performance to make the team for Tokyo.

"My hope now is to be in another Olympics, that is where my mindset is and I will be very happy if I achieve that."

Ingebrigtsen, reportedly unable to train for the preceding fortnight because of a bacterial infection, finished second, with Spain’s Mohamed Katir setting a national record of 3:28.76 in second place.

Three other athletes originally named for the Kenyan team for Tokyo have been dropped - racewalkers Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii and 400m hurdler Moitalel Mpoke.

Kenya will send 40 athletes, mainly runners, to Tokyo 2020, which are due to open on July 23 with the athletics programme running from July 30 to August 8.

 

(07/15/2021) Views: 523 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Olympic 100m hurdles champ Brianna McNeal will miss the Tokyo Games, as well as Paris 2024 after her appeal against a five-year doping ban was dismissed

The 29-year-old American was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit in April after a disciplinary tribunal found her guilty of "tampering within the results management process".

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) "partially upheld" the decision.

Her ban runs until August 2025.

McNeal, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Games and was world champion in 2013, was provisionally suspended in February.

At the time she said in a social media post at the time that she was "very clean, very honest and transparent".

It is the second time the athlete has been banned for breaching anti-doping rules, having missed the 2017 World Championships while serving a one-year ban for missing three drug tests.

Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control carries a ban of up to four years if proved, though McNeal could have faced a ban of up to eight years as it was her second breach.

McNeal has also had all her competitive results from 13 February and 14 August las year disqualified.

(07/02/2021) Views: 359 ⚡AMP
by BBC sports
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Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

For this historic event, the City of Light is thinking big! Visitors will be able to watch events at top sporting venues in Paris and the Paris region, as well as at emblematic monuments in the capital visited by several millions of tourists each year. The promise of exceptional moments to experience in an exceptional setting! A great way to...

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World 400m champ Salwa Eid Naser to miss Olympics after CAS issues two-year ban

Bahrain's world 400 meters champion Salwa Eid Naser will miss the Tokyo Olympics after being given a two-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday for an anti-doping violation by missing out-of-competition tests.

Sport's highest court, however, said that the Nigerian-born 23-year-old would not be stripped of her results from the 2019 world championships as it had sufficient evidence that she did not gain from doping practices then.

CAS in November registered an appeal from the sport's global governing body World Athletics against an Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) disciplinary tribunal decision to clear Naser of committing an anti-doping violation.

According to World Athletics rules, any combination of three missed tests or filing failures within a 12-month period by an athlete constitutes a whereabouts failure violation.

"Naser is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on the date of notification of this award, with credit given for the period of provisional suspension already served between June 4, 2020 and Oct. 14, 2020," CAS said in a statement.

"All competitive results obtained by Naser from Nov. 25, 2019, through to the date of notification of this award shall be disqualified, with all of the resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize and appearance money."

Naser won gold at the World Championships in Doha on Oct. 3, 2019 clocking 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time in history.

A CAS panel adjudicating in the matter said Naser's Doha result would stand.

"The panel's task was never to pronounce whether or not the athlete is or was a 'doping cheat', but only to decide whether she has been in breach of the... anti-doping rules as charged and to impose a suitable sanction in accordance with the rules.

CAS said it recognized the athlete would be distressed to miss the Olympics "but the fault for this blow to her career is no-one's but hers."

"She attempted to escape the consequences of her actions by giving evidence which this panel found to be untruthful. Such an approach from a top-level athlete is seriously undermining of the whole anti-doping program and is sanctioned accordingly."

"The panel has found she was in breach and that throughout 2019 and into January 2020 her whole approach to the whereabouts requirements was seriously and inexcusably irresponsible."

(06/30/2021) Views: 403 ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Shelby Houlihan will not compete at Trials after all

The U.S. Olympic track and field trials are set to start today, and American 1,500m and 5,000m record holder Shelby Houlihan will not be on the start line, after all. Mere hours after the USATF announced she would be permitted to compete, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee reversed the decision in an effort to remain in line with the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) ruling to uphold her four-year ban.

Earlier this week, the track and field world learned that Houlihan had received a four-year ban after she tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. She protested vehemently that she had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, blaming the positive test on contaminated meat in a burrito she had eaten 10 hours before being tested. 

The reversal came after pushback from the international anti-doping community as well as several prominent elite runners, who believed a banned runner should not be permitted to compete at trials. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which runs the anti-doping program for World Athletics, released a statement Thursday saying that the USATF must respect and implement the decisions of the CAS. The Clean Sport Collective also published a petition against letting her compete, signed by a number of athletes, including Des Linden, Steph Bruce, Mary Cain, Emma Coburn, Mason Ferlic, Molly Seidel, Emily Sisson and retired Canadian pro runner Nicole Sifuentes. 

Under normal circumstances, athletes who test positive for a banned substance first have a hearing before the AIU, but with the Olympic trials so close, Houlihan took her appeal straight to the CAS in Switzerland. The CAS upheld her ban, which leaves her with only one option: to appeal the CAS decision before a Swiss Federal tribunal. According to sources, however, this avenue is only for matters of procedure, while the decision itself is binding. Not only will Houlihan miss this year’s Olympics, but she will miss the 2024 Games also.

(06/19/2021) Views: 387 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Shelby Houlihan says she ate a pork burrito before her drug test and this is why she tested positive.

Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan said she has been banned from the sport for four years following a positive test for anabolic steroids that she attributes to eating a pork burrito.

Houlihan said she was devastated to learn of the suspension from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body that combats doping, after she tested positive for nandrolone.

Houlihan said in a post on Instagram Monday that a burrito she ate before the test contained pig organ meat, or offal, which she said can lead to a positive test for nandrolone. A study funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found trace amounts of nandrolone can be found in that kind of meat and warned about the possibility of a false positive.

The ban will prevent the 28-year-old from competing in upcoming US Olympic Trials and the Tokyo Olympic Games. Doping accusations and investigations have led to multiple bans of athletes and even entire countries from competing, including a two-year ban on Russia from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The runner said she received an email from AIU on January 14, 2021, informing her that a drug test she took December 15, 2020, returned positive for nandrolone.

"When I got that email, I had to read it over about ten times and google what it was that I had just tested positive for," she said in the post. "I had never even heard of nandrolone."

(06/15/2021) Views: 469 ⚡AMP
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Doping-Olympic champion Brianna McNeal banned for five years, CAS to hear appeal before Tokyo Games

American Olympic 100 meters hurdles champion Brianna McNeal has been banned for five years for an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Friday, with her participation in the Tokyo Games in doubt until her appeal is heard.

McNeal, who had been charged and provisionally suspended for "tampering within the results management process" in January, was sanctioned by a Disciplinary Tribunal as it was her second violation of World Athletics' anti-doping rules.

The ban is effective from Aug. 15, 2020. The AIU said McNeal has appealed against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with the case set to be heard before the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The AIU added that CAS had granted McNeal "provisional relief and temporarily stayed" the tribunal's decision so she can compete until the end of the U.S. Olympic trials on June 27.

The AIU did not elaborate on its decision for "confidentiality reasons".

McNeal, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was world champion in 2013, had denied testing positive for any banned substance.

The 29-year-old led a U.S. clean sweep of the 100m hurdles podium at the 2016 Olympics but was banned for a year when she missed three out-of-competition drug tests, which constitutes an ADRV.

Her ban, which was applied for the 2017 season, resulted in her missing the World Championships that year.

(06/04/2021) Views: 417 ⚡AMP
by Toby Davis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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The JAAF has stripped Moroccan Dazza of 2019 Fukuoka Title

The JAAF has announced that Moroccan El Mahjoub Dazza has been stripped of his victory at the 73rd Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec. 1, 2019. A short time later Dazza was found to have violated anti-doping regulations, and the Athletics Integrity Unit suspended him for four years.

Following a rejection of his appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week, all of Dazza's results after May 4, 2019, including his Fukuoka win, were disqualified.

For that reason, all athletes who finished 2nd and lower in the race will be elevated one position, making runner-up Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) the winner and giving the Toyota corporate team and head coach Toshinobu Sato two-straight Fukuoka victories, following teammate Yuma Hattori's 2018 win.

The Fukuoka International Marathon is known worldwide as one of the most prestigious traditional races and last year was selected as the recipient of World Athletics' Heritage Plaque. Nevertheless, in March this year the JAAF announced that this year's 75th running on Dec. 5 will be its final edition.

(05/11/2021) Views: 494 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects Dazza and Marimuthu appeals against four-year doping bans

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected appeals from El Mahjoub Dazza and Gomathi Marimuthu against their respective four-year doping suspensions.

Morocco's Dazza and Indian athlete Marimuthu were both banned in 2020 by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), but appealed against their sanctions to the CAS.

Dazza was eighth in the men's marathon world rankings before being provisionally suspended in January last year following the detection of anomalies in his athlete biological passport.

Subsequently, Dazza was given a four-year period of ineligibility.

Appealing to the CAS, Dazza argued that procedural infringements had been committed and that altitude training, combined with high air temperatures, were responsible for his haemoglobin level rising and reticulocytes concentration falling.

The manner in which samples were handled was questionable, it was also claimed, and Dazza argued that even if he had committed an anti-doping rule violation, a four-year ban was not the appropriate punishment.

The CAS rejected these arguments, upholding the four-year sanction, and also ordered Dazza to pay CHF4,000 (£3,170/$4,440/€3.560) - CHF1,000 (£790/$1,110/€912) to the CAS and CHF3,000 (£2,380/$3,330/€2,740) towards World Athletics' legal fees.

Dazza remains banned until January 10 2024, two months before he turns 33.

The Moroccan's results from May 4 2019 onwards - which includes winning both the Prague Marathon and Fukuoka Marathon - were also disqualified.

Marimuthu, who had won the Asian women's 800 metres title in 2019, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in four separate samples.

This led to a four-year ban and the disqualification of results including at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

Marimuthu appealed the decision to the CAS, arguing that the samples in question were unreliable as they has been handled incorrectly.

It was also claimed that Marimuthu had suffered a "spontaneous" miscarriage in January 2019 and that this, combined with having polycystic ovary syndrome, was the likely cause of abnormally high endogenous 19-norandrosterone.

The CAS rejected the appeal and upheld the four-year ban, with Marimuthu ordered to pay the CHF1,000 court office fee and stripped of the Asian 800m crown.

(05/08/2021) Views: 407 ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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World 100m champion Christian Coleman has two-year ban reduced by six months

Coleman has had his two-year ban for missing three drug tests reduced by six months following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

The 25-year-old American will still miss the Tokyo Olympics starting in July as the ban runs until 14 November.

He can, however, defend his world indoor and outdoor titles next year.

Cas "partially upheld" the Athletics Integrity Unit's (AIU) ruling but found his "degree of negligence to be lower".

Coleman, who won 100m gold at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, was first provisionally suspended in June 2020 after missing a third test in December 2019.

The indoor 60m world record holder did not contest his first missed test on 16 January 2019 but disputed his filing failure on 26 April 2019 and whereabouts failure on 9 December.

The AIU investigation into his rule violations said there was no suggestion he had ever taken a banned substance.

However, Coleman's attitude towards his anti-doping obligations was described as "entirely careless, perhaps even reckless" by the AIU in October.

According to the AIU's out-of-competition testing guidelines, athletes are accountable for missed tests if they are not at their specified location for the one-hour period they have stated. The tester must wait for the full 60 minutes before leaving.

Coleman said he was Christmas shopping "five minutes away" from home, and that the tester made no effort to contact him during his third whereabouts failure.

Cas said Coleman "should have been on 'high alert' on that day" considering his previous whereabouts failures, but decided "he would have been able to return" in time to do a test if contacted.

"Although a telephone call during the 60-minute window was not required by the rules, it was nevertheless reasonable for the athlete to expect such a call, as a matter of standard practice among other doping control officers," Cas said in a statement.

(04/16/2021) Views: 373 ⚡AMP
by Athletics
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Sebastian Coe warns Italy not to be on wrong side of history following Schwazer doping clearance

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has warned Italy to not be on the "wrong side of history" after a court cleared Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer of doping in a criminal case.

An Italian court in Bolzano ruled last month that urine samples belonging to Schwazer, who was given an eight-year ban before the Rio 2016 Olympics, were "highly likely" tampered with.

The criminal court case was dismissed after the court stated it was possible that the sample was tampered with to show up a positive result.

Schwazer was given the lengthy ban as it was his second doping offence, having previously served a three-and-a-half year suspension for testing positive for erythropoietin before the London 2012 Olympics.

The Italian has not disputed results of that first test.

He did claim he was a victim of foul play related to his second ban, which was handed to him following a sample from January 1 2016.

It had initially given negative results, but a new analysis revealed traces of steroids.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) gave the Beijing 2008 50-kilometre race walk champion an eight-year ban for his second offence, but after the Italian court ruling, Coe criticised its decision.

"We do resolutely reject any attempt by the athlete or any individuals associated with the athlete to undermine or seek to annul the final CAS ruling," said Coe in a press conference.

"It was an award based on what can be best described as far-fetched manipulation theories."

The ruling in Bolzano has led to a suggestion that Schwazer could appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

CAS rejected an appeal from Schwazer to overturn his lengthy ban in August 2016 and the Swiss Federal court upheld CAS' ruling when the Italian later appealed to it.

Schwazer was stripped of a World Race Walking Team Championships title won in Rome in 2016 as a result of the second anti-doping violation.

"I don't want Italy to be on the wrong side of history here," added Coe.

"The Athletics Integrity Unit and World Athletics stand absolutely by the position they've taken.

"The issue is clearly one that is exercising Italy and it is important that we remain very firm and very resolute here.

"I don't want Italian track and field to be tainted, I just hope that people recognise that this is an important issue and history will be unkind."

(03/22/2021) Views: 442 ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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A maximum of 10 Russian track and field athletes will be able to compete at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics

Ten Russians to compete in Tokyo Olympic as World Athletics restored its Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) scheme after a council meeting.

The council has decided to allow ANAs “to start competing again, subject to a cap of 10 for the Olympic Games”, said Rune Andersen, chair of the Russian Taskforce overseeing the country’s reinstatement efforts.

The ANA scheme allows Russian competitors who meet strict anti-doping criteria to participate in global track and field events, but under a neutral flag and in neutral clothing.

World Athletics temporarily suspended the ANA scheme in November 2019 as part of the suspension of the Russian athletics federation (RusAF) reinstatement process following charges by the track doping watchdog Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that RusAF helped cover up missed tests by Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko.

That decision meant that there were no Russian athletes at this month’s European indoor championships in Torun, Poland.

There had been 29 Russians competing as ANAs at the Doha world champs in September/October 2019, winning two golds, three silvers and one bronze medal.

(03/20/2021) Views: 440 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Kenyan middle distance runner Nelly Jepkosgei banned after giving fake evidence for missed test

Jepkosgei has been banned for three years after accepting a charge of tampering with evidence, a violation of World Athletics’ anti-doping rules, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

Jepkosgei, who is ranked 27th in the world in the women’s 800m, missed a doping test on March 18 and offered fake evidence in the form of a forged document to explain the whereabouts failure, the AIU said in a statement

The 29-year-old had informed the AIU that she missed the test because she had been at Kapsabet County Referral Hospital, where her sister had been admitted after being involved in a serious car accident.

In June, Jepkosgei’s representative sent the AIU a copy of a discharge summary document from the hospital purporting to relate her sister, which stated she been admitted on March 18 and “remained there for some days”.

The AIU then asked Kenya’s anti-doping agency (ADAK) to verify Jepkosgei’s claim, but ADAK reported there were no police records of the car accident and that the hospital had no record of her sister being admitted. The Medical superintendent of Kapsabet County.

(03/04/2021) Views: 390 ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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Former Russian athletics chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin was on Wednesday banned for four years

Shlyakhtin was banned for four years over the Lysenko doping cover-up affair, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced.

Four other former RUSAF officials received the same punishment from athletics' independent anti-doping watchdog: executive director Alexander Parkin, Artur Karamyan, Elena Orlova and Elena Ikonnikova.

The quintet were found guilty of obstructing an investigation into high-jumper Danil Lysenko, a silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships in London.

Shlyakhtin and the others were suspended last year for "serious breaches" of anti-doping rules.

Russia has been banned from competing as a country in athletics since 2015, after the World Anti-Doping Agency found evidence of widespread doping in the sport.

Some Russian athletes, including Lysenko, have been allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

But last year Lysenko had that status removed by athletics' governing body, then called the IAAF, after he failed to provide the whereabouts information he is required to give to submit to doping tests.

The AIU's 15-month investigation found that Shlyakhtin and Parkin had been involved in the "provision of false explanations and forged documents to the AIU in order to explain whereabouts failures by the athlete".

The ex-RUSAF five can appeal the verdict while Lysenko's case is still ongoing.

RUSAF has until March 1 to present its plans for reform and remains under the threat of exclusion from the IAAF and the Tokyo Olympics.

(02/19/2021) Views: 433 ⚡AMP
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Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal could face eight-year ban

The Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal could face an eight-year ban after becoming the latest big-name athlete to be charged with an anti-doping violation.

In a statement, the Athletics Integrity Unit said that the 29-year-old American had been provisionally suspended after being charged with “tampering within the results management process”, but did not give any more details.

Under anti-doping rules, the standard sanction for a tampering charge is a four-year ban. However in 2017 McNeal was banned for a year by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after three whereabouts failures in 2016 - two of them after she forgot to update her whereabouts details when she was attending a fete of honour in her hometown and travelling to the White House to meet the president.

McNeal who led a historic USA sweep of the medals in her event in Rio, with Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin finishing second and third, was punished under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code for failing to properly file whereabouts information on three occasions in a 12-month period.

The American Arbitration Association, which ruled on the case, described it as “a difficult case because it involves the imposition of a serious penalty on a brilliant athlete who is not charged or suspected of using banned substances of any kind”.

At that time, McNeal posted a statement to her Instagram account, which read in part: “I’ve always competed clean, and I am always happy to be tested to prove it. This is one of the most difficult times in my career, especially after having such a great 2016 season – all I wanted to do was capitalise on that but God has other plans.” Competing under her maiden name of Rollins, she also claimed the world 100m hurdles title in Moscow in 2013.

Last week it was revealed that the London 2017 world long jump champion, Luvo Manyonga – who made worldwide headlines when he recovered from a crystal meth addiction to become one of the faces of track and field – could face a four-year ban after being provisionally suspended for whereabouts failures. The current 100m world champion Christian Coleman was hit with a two-year ban in October for missing tests.

(01/15/2021) Views: 394 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Kenyan middle-distance athlete Elijah Manang'oi, banned for doping offence

Kenyan middle-distance athlete Elijah Manang'oi has been banned for two years for a doping offence.

Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had on July 23 flagged down the 2017 World 1,500m champion over whereabouts failures.

But AIU has since found Manang'oi guilty and banned him for two years starting December 22, 2019 - which is the date of third whereabouts failure - to December 21, 2021.

"Disqualification of all competitive results obtained by the athlete since 22 December 2019 with all resulting consequences, including the forfeiture of any  titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money," read the ruling from AIU.

Manang'oi had three missed tests in the 12-month period beginning on July 3, 2019 followed by November 12 and December 22 of the same year.

In the first incident, Manang’oi asserted that, on July 2, 2019, his connecting flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi had been delayed and as a consequence he only arrived in Nairobi at around 11pm on July 2 2019.

Manang'oi claimed that his luggage did not arrive with him from his original departure destination (San Francisco) and that his house key was in his luggage.

Manang’oi stated that he had tried to change his Whereabouts information but “couldn’t do because time couldn’t allow because it was already past midnight”. As he did not have his house keys, he had stayed in the nearest airport hotel which led in turn to his missed test in Rongai the following morning.

However, AIU indicated that the athlete’s explanation failed to demonstrate that no negligence on his behalf caused or contributed to his failure to be present and available for testing during his designated time slot on July 3, 2019 or to update his Whereabouts information.

Manang'oi becomes the second high-profiled Kenyan athlete to be banned within one month after the 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, who was handed a four-year ban after being found guilty of doping violation.

 

(01/09/2021) Views: 467 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Former world junior 800m champ Alfred Kipketer of Kenya has been banned for two year

Former world junior 800 metres champion Alfred Kipketer of Kenya has been banned for two years after he missed four drugs tests within a 12-month period.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) confirmed Kipketer accepted he had committed an anti-doping rule violation for whereabouts failures, which rules him out of this year's postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The 24-year-old, a finalist in the 800m at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, missed four tests between November 2018 and September 2019.

He has been suspended from November 26 2019, the date his fourth missed test was confirmed, to November 25 of this year.

Kipketer, a member of the Kenyan team which won the gold medal in the 4x800m at the 2014 World Relays, failed to provide any explanation for three of the four failures.

He claimed he missed the third test because he had to travel to Nairobi for a family emergency, but the AIU rejected his explanation, stating he had "sufficient opportunity" to update his whereabouts to reflect his change in circumstances.

Kipketer, who also won the world youth title in 2013 and reached the final of the 800m at the 2015 World Championships, is among the more than 60 Kenyan athletes who are serving doping bans.

The AIU had provisionally suspended Kipketer in January, and he has not been able to compete since that date - although many of the events he might have featured at have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Notable names on the list of Kenyan runners currently banned include the 2016 Olympic women's marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang.

The 2011, 2013 and 2015 world 1500 metres gold medallist Asbel Kiprop is also banned, as is Elijah Manangoi, who succeeded him in 2017.

Kenya is in the AIU's highest risk category for doping.

(01/09/2021) Views: 466 ⚡AMP
by Liam Morgan
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Seb Coe warns it will be harder than ever to cheat at Tokyo Olympics

Sebastian Coe has warned the biggest names in track and field that being “high profile no longer protects you from the investigative powers of the sport” – and predicted it will be harder than ever to get away with taking banned drugs at the Tokyo Olympics.

There has long been a suspicion that some countries have not done everything in their powers to catch their stars who cheat. However Coe, the World Athletics president, insisted things had now fundamentally changed and that drugs cheats would now be “fearlessly and ruthlessly weeded out” by the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Athletes need to understand why Russia is so important to the IOC

While Coe readily conceded it was not a good thing for the sport that its fastest man, the world 100m champion Christian Coleman, was serving a doping ban for missing tests, he said it showed the system was working.

“The AIU was a centrepiece in the reforms and that’s exactly why I pushed for that independent, dispassionate organisation that could remove the decision making from any undue political interference,” he said. “I like to think that it has shown the athletes that we’re not respecters or fearful of reputation. Where there is an infraction we’re not fearful of sitting there going: ‘Oh well that’s quite a big name.’

“The AIU is not always going to be on everybody’s Christmas card list, nor should they be. But I do think that it has restored some confidence among the athletes that we’ve got an organisation out there that will fearlessly and ruthlessly weed out the cheats when and where they surface.”

Coe said athletics now did more intelligence-led testing than any other sport – a fact that made him hopeful it will be harder than ever to cheat at the Tokyo Olympics.

Those comments will raise eyebrows in some quarters, given he also predicted before the London 2012 Olympics that it would be “the cleanest in history”. But Coe said he was confident that was the case. “Technology has improved, significantly even since 2012. Now, we’ve become much more sophisticated in the way testing takes place. It’s much more intelligence-led. And we’ve also got the AIU and that’s now 20-odd people with a good chunk of those people are sophisticated international investigators as well.

“I feel that I will be taking World Athletics as a federation to Tokyo with better systems in place than any other federation. I’m proud to be able to say that. And what I can say is if athletes do cheat there is a greater chance of them being caught in Tokyo than probably any previous Games.”

Coe also dismissed suggestions that the whereabouts system, under which athletes receive a two-year ban if they miss three drug tests in a 12-month period, was unduly harsh.

(12/24/2020) Views: 569 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmad Al Kamali has been suspended for six months upholding corruption charges

President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmad Al Kamali has been suspended for six months and fined 5,000 euros ($6,080) for gifting watches to delegates in an attempt to win votes, the World Athletics ethics board said on Tuesday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit had provisionally suspended Al Kamali from any athletics-related activities last October, preventing him from standing in election for the vice president’s role at World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

World Athletics said in a statement that Al Kamali was alleged to have gifted Rolex and/or UAE branded Continental watches to delegates at the Confederation of African Athletics Congress in 2015 while he was a member of the IAAF Council.

Al Kamali admitted giving watches to the delegates but said the retail value of the gifts did not exceed $40 to $50.

“Mr Al Kamali has been found to have violated the Code of Ethics by his conduct... in giving gifts of more than nominal value and failing to act with dignity and respect for his opponents as a candidate for IAAF office,” World Athletics said in a statement.

“The purpose of the prohibition on giving valuable gifts is to maintain the integrity and impartiality of IAAF officials and of the IAAF as an institution...

“Accordingly, the Panel considers it appropriate to impose a 6 month ban upon Mr Al Kamali from taking part in any athletics-related activity including holding any relevant office in athletics (whether at national, regional or world level).”

(12/15/2020) Views: 559 ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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Ex-800m world champion Marina Arzamasova handed four-year doping ban

Former 800 meters world champion Marina Arzamasova has been banned for four years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after failing an anti-doping test.

An out-of-competition sample provided by the Belarusian on July 29 2019 was found to contain LGD-4033.

Also known as ligandrol, it is ordinarily used to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as it stimulates muscle growth.

Arzamasova's B sample also tested positive for LGD-4033.

The athlete, who had been provisionally suspended since August 2019, requested a hearing in front of a three-person AIU Disciplinary Panel, which was held remotely last month.

Arzamasova blamed contaminated supplements for the presence of LGD-4033, but this rejected by the panel, which found the 32-year-old "failed to establish that her ADRV [anti-doping rule violation] was not intentional".

As a result, there was no need to deliberate over Arzamasova's degree of fault or negligence, so a four-year ban was applied.

Arzamasova won the 800m world title in Beijing in 2015, posting a personal best of 1min 57.54sec.

The Belarusian also won the European title in Zürich in 2014.

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Arzamasova paced seventh in the 800m final in 1:59.10, and at London 2012 she failed to go beyond the heats.

Arzamasova may not compete again until July 29 2023.

All of her results between July 29 and August 22 in 2019 have been disqualified.

The ruling can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Belarus is one of seven countries considered by the AIU to represent the highest doping risk, along with Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

Per the AIU database, Arzamasova is now among nine track and field athletes from Belarus currently banned for doping.

(12/08/2020) Views: 475 ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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World Athletics has opened the door for Russia track and field stars to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year

World Athletics opens door for Russia to potentially compete at Tokyo Olympics – providing the country now fulfils its promises of serious reform.

The Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) looked close to being expelled from the sport in September but the election of a new president, Peter Ivanov, on Monday has led to cautious optimism that Russia could finally end its five-year suspension from the sport.

Rune Andersen, the chair of the World Athletics taskforce on restoring Russia’s membership, admitted there had been progress in developing “a meaningful reinstatement plan” to drive the cultural change required for Russia to return to full international membership of the sport by the deadline of 1 March 2021.

“A new framework agreement has been put in place,” he said. “The international experts have already begun working with the senior Rusaf management team, and have reported that that team has been very responsive and constructive in its approach.”

Rusaf was initially suspended in November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping and appeared close to being kicked out of the sport after its former leaders attempted to cover-up an anti-doping investigation into Danil Lysenko, the 2018 world indoor high jump champion. It led to Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the Russian track and field federation, being charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit and stepping down.

However, Russia was granted a reprieve after the sports minister, Oleg Matytsin, who promised they were committed to solving a number of issues, gave an “unconditional” promise to pay an outstanding fine of £5m.

The president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said he would be “pleased” to see Russian athletes competing in Tokyo – even if it was under a neutral flag – but said that was dependent not only on the behaviour of Rusaf but on what the International Olympic Committee decided in the months ahead.

(12/04/2020) Views: 562 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Christian Coleman has formally appealed doping ban

Men's 100-meter world champion Christian Coleman has formally appealed against his two-year ban for missing multiple doping tests, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday.

The court also received an appeal by the World Athletics governing body against a decision to clear women's 400-meter world champion Salwa Eid Naser on a technicality despite facing similar charges as Coleman.

The verdicts in the separate cases will have a big impact on two of the most anticipated sprint events at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Coleman is challenging a two-year ban imposed last month by an independent tribunal at track and field's Athletics Integrity Unit.

The American sprinter had three so-called "whereabouts failures" -- missed tests or not updating details where sample collection officials could find him -- in a one-year period to trigger a doping violation.

Coleman asked for his ban, which currently rules him out of the Olympics, to "be eliminated, or in the alternative, reduced," the court said in a statement.

He had previously avoided a ban before the 2019 worlds in Doha, Qatar, when he benefited from the same technicality later cited to clear Naser.

In Naser's case, World Athletics is appealing against the tribunal's decision last month to let her off without a ban.

Although the Nigeria-born Bahraini did have three whereabouts incidents within a 12-month calendar period, they technically counted as spanning more than one year.

World Athletics has requested a two-year ban for Naser, CAS said, adding it is now appointing panels of judges to handle the cases.

CAS typically take several months to prepare and judge an appeal, although fast-track decisions can be reached if all parties agree to cooperate.

(11/27/2020) Views: 460 ⚡AMP
by Associated Press
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This year´s Sofia Marathon winners Khapilina and Sbaai provisionally suspended by AIU

This year’s Sofia Marathon winners, Viktoriia Khapilina and Youssef Sbaai, have been provisionally suspended from all racing for doping violations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

Ukraine’s Khapilina and Sbaai of Morocco, who set course records of 2:27:57 and 2:13:03 respectively in the bronze label race in Bulgaria last month, tested positive for a banned substance in an in-competition test, the AIU said.

“The AIU has provisionally suspended Viktoriia Khapilina and Youssef Sbaai for the presence of recombinant EPO, in violation of World Athletics Anti-Doping rules following in-competition tests,” the AIU said in a statement.

(11/19/2020) Views: 636 ⚡AMP
by Hugh Lawson
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Wizz air Sofia Marathon

Wizz air Sofia Marathon

The home of Sofia Marathon was founded thousands of years ago and today it continues to develop as the country’s cultural and economic centre. Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and one of the oldest capitals in Eastern Europe.Sofia has been settled for many millennia. In honour of its hot springs, which you should visit after running the marathon in Sofia, in...

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Kenya’s Elijah Motonei Manangoi banned for doping offence

Kenyan middle-distance athlete Elijah Manang'oi has been banned for two years for a doping offence.

Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had on July 23 flagged down the 2017 World 1,500m champion over whereabouts failures.

But AIU has since found Manang'oi guilty and banned him for two years starting December 22, 2019 - which is the date of third whereabouts failure - to December 21, 2021.

"Disqualification of all competitive results obtained by the athlete since 22 December 2019 with all resulting consequences, including the forfeiture of any  titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money," read the ruling from AIU.

Manang'oi had three missed tests in the 12-month period beginning on July 3, 2019 followed by November 12 and December 22 of the same year.

In the first incident, Manang’oi asserted that, on July 2, 2019, his connecting flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi had been delayed and as a consequence he only arrived in Nairobi at around 11pm on July 2 2019.

Manang'oi claimed that his luggage did not arrive with him from his original departure destination (San Francisco) and that his house key was in his luggage.

No negligence

Manang’oi stated that he had tried to change his Whereabouts information but “couldn’t do because time couldn’t allow because it was already past midnight”. As he did not have his house keys, he had stayed in the nearest airport hotel which led in turn to his missed test in Rongai the following morning.

However, AIU indicated that the athlete’s explanation failed to demonstrate that no negligence on his behalf caused or contributed to his failure to be present and available for testing during his designated time slot on July 3, 2019 or to update his Whereabouts information.

On  November 12 missed test, Manang'oi stated that, on the morning of the said date, he was returning home from a night shift connected to his role with the Kenya Police Service, but that due to traffic, he had been unable to make it to his nominated address before the end of his specified time slot.

The AIU concluded that the athlete should have updated his Whereabouts information as soon as he encountered the traffic jam. That the athlete should have appreciated that there was a risk that he would not be present and available for testing at his registered Whereabouts location during his 60-minute time slot that day.

 

(11/14/2020) Views: 452 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Olympic medalist Irina Privalova nominated for RusAF Presidency

Four-time Olympic medallist Irina Privalova is to stand for the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) Presidency later this month.

Privalova has been nominated for the post by the Moscow Athletics Federation, Russia's state-run news agency TASS reports.

New RusAF elections have been scheduled for November 30.

Until then, Yevgeny Yurchenko - who resigned in July - is the organisation's Acting President.

Regional federations are able to nominate candidates for the RusAF Presidency, and Privalova is not the first to have their name put forward.

Sports manager Mikhail Gusev - who was a candidate in February, before withdrawing late on as Yurchenko became President unopposed - has been nominated by the Athletics Federation of the Nizhny Novgorod Region.

Privalova won 400 metres hurdles gold and 4x400m relay bronze for Russia at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

She also won 100m bronze and 4x100m silver at Barcelona 1992, running for the Unified Team of former Soviet nations, and six medals at various World Championships.

RusAF is currently suspended by World Athletics, with its Reinstatement Commission given a March 1 deadline to present the global governing body with a reinstatement plan.

It avoided expulsion in August by paying World Athletics a $6.31 million (£4.8 million/€5.32 million) fine, stemming from an anti-doping rule violation by world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko and subsequent cover-up.

Seven RusAF officials - including then-President Dmitry Shlyakhtin - were charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit with obstructing an anti-doping investigation by forging documents to explain Lysenko's missed tests.

Russia has been banned from international competition since November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping, but some athletes have been able to compete under the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) programme.

The ANA scheme is currently suspended for Russian athletes, but is due to be discussed at a World Athletics Council meeting in December.

If the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a four-year package of sanctions which includes a ban on the Russian flag flying at the Olympic Games is unsuccessful, the only way Russian track and field athletes will be able to compete at Tokyo 2020 next year is if the ANA programme is resumed.

(11/04/2020) Views: 559 ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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Doping charges against Bahrain's 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser dismissed

The doping charges brought against Bahrain's 400 meter world champion Salwa Eid Naser have been dismissed, the Athletics Integrity Unit announced on Tuesday.The 22-year-old Naser was provisionally suspended in June and charged with failing to meet 'whereabouts' criteria.

The AIU charged the Nigerian-born runner with four alleged 'whereabouts' failures which included three missed tests between March 2019 and January this year.But the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal did not confirm a missed test from April 2019, therefore meaning Naser had not missed three tests within 12 months which is required to prove an anti-doping violation.

The AIU added that it has the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Naser stunned athletics in Doha last year when she powered to the third-fastest 400m time in history to win the world title.

Her time of 48.14 seconds has only been bettered by East German Marita Koch in 1985 and former Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983.The AIU is the independent anti-doping watchdog for track and field, set up in 2017.

(10/20/2020) Views: 536 ⚡AMP
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