Kenyan marathoner Titus Ekiru will not be at the start line of any racing until 2032. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) served the 31-year-old a ten-year ban after an investigation exposed collusion with a high-ranking doctor at a hospital in Kenya.
The start of his ban will be from June 28, 2022, which is when he was first issued a provisional suspension, and last ten years, until June 27, 2032.
Ekiru was known for many achievements, but his most notable came when he won the Milan Marathon in 2021, running a personal best time of 2:02:57. Until today, his time stood as the sixth fastest marathon of all time in the world rankings.
Ekiru was found guilty of tampering and testing positive for banned substances on two separate occasions.
His two positive tests come from his notable win at the Milan Marathon on May 26, 2021, where he tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide, and from his win at the Abu Dhabi Marathon just months later on November 26, 2021, where he tested positive for a synthetic opioid.
Although his ban only dates back to 2022, his wins at both the Milan Marathon and Abu Dhabi Marathon have been nullified, including any times he ran and prize money from each event.
Triamcinolone acetonide has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2014 for improving performance by aiding in weight loss without suffering significant power loss.
The AIU uncovered that Ekiru had colluded with a senior physician at a hospital in Nandi County, Kenya, on two separate occasions. On April 29, 2021, and May 6, 2021, Ekiru received injections of triamcinolone acetonide during hospital visits that went undocumented.
The investigation led by AIU then revealed a third undocumented hospital visit from November 19, 2021, during which Ekiru obtained a pethidine injection, meperidine (pethidine) tablets and other medications for acute pain.
Ekiru told the AIU during their investigation that he received an outpatient number and card during his first visit on April 29, 2021. He then claimed to have used that same number and card during his second visit on May 6, 2021.
However, hospital documents revealed that Eriku was not issued and outpatient number until July 16, 2021, the one occaision in which the hospital confirmed Eriku as an outpatient.
A statement by the AIU said, “The senior doctor claimed Eriku’s visits were unrecorded by the hospital as ‘the athlete had attended early in the morning, before the registration offices had opened’.”
The AIU’s investigation concluded that the medical documents Eriku used to explain his two positive tests were forged and were not consistent with hospital record.
Initially, Ekiru wished to contest the charges, however when the evidence was presented, he decided to no longer puruse the case.
The AIU has submitted a formal request to the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) the the conduct of the attending doctor be refered to criminal authorities for further investigation.
With Eriku’s results nullified, Evans Chebet and Gabriel Geay’s performances of 2:03:00 from the Valencia Marathon in 2020 and 2022, respectively, are now equally ranked the sixth fastest marathon of all-time in the world rankings list.