Doping Violations Continue In Kenya: Four More Athletes Served Suspensions

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The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has issued provisional suspensions to four Kenyan athletes after the presence of prohibited substances were found in doping control samples. 

A provisional suspension occurs when an athlete is temporarily suspended from participating in any competition before a final decision is made at a hearing under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules and the Integrity Code of Conduct.

Purity Komen, Esther Borura, James Karanja, and Rebecca Korir are the four Kenyan athletes facing provisional suspensions.

25-year-old Purity Komen is facing provisional suspension after a doping control sample returned positive for prohibited substances. Komen’s sample suggests the use of norandrosterone, which is an anabolic steroid that has been banned in sports for over 30 years.

Norandrosterone, technically known as 19-nortestosterone, like many other anabolic steroids, is known for improving athletic performance by increasing muscle mass and strength and also increasing recovery speed.

Komen is also facing violations of anti-doping rules after being accused of evading sample collection.

Komen was the 2023 winner of the Istanbul Half Marathon, running a time of 1:06:30.

Esther Borura was also served a provisional suspension after a doping control sample returned positive for anabolic steroid norandrosterone.

23-year-old Borura placed third at this year’s Valencia 10k, where she ran a personal best time of 30:15.

James Karanja is the third Kenyan athlete on this list who was also handed a provisional suspension after testing positive for norandrosterone.

Karanja, 44 years old, holds a personal best of 1:03:59 in the half marathon and 2:13:54 in the marathon.

The final of the four Kenyan athletes served provisional suspensions; Rebecca Korir, 31, returned a positive test finding for methylprednisolone

Methylprednisolone is a glucocorticosteroid that has been shown to improve submaximal exercise significantly and is banned by WADA.

Korir won the Harbin Marathon this year in China, clocking a time of 2:30:34. Her personal best in the marathon is 2:29:04, run in Poland in 2019.

These four cases, along with the many other recent doping violation cases coming out of Kenya, continue to highlight the country’s doping crisis. 

Our recent deep dive into the complexities of doping across the African continent, including Kenya, found that doping often goes beyond the athlete.

Corruption within governing bodies and athletics personnel has led to athletes doping out of necessity and a lack of resources. 

High-placing performances and record-breaking runs are rewarded with financial incentives from which governing bodies and athlete personnel benefit. 

Avenues for exploitation are opened when athletes rely on the people surrounding them. Athletes are made vulnerable to exploitation as a result of high poverty levels in African countries and a lack of adequate healthcare and educational resources.

The athletes’ provisional suspensions will remain in place until a final decision regarding their alleged doping violations is made in a hearing.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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