World 10km record holder Rhonex Kipruto suspended for suspected doping

10km record holder faces four-year ban if found guilty

World 10km record holder Rhonex Kipruto suspended for suspected doping
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The world 10km record holder, Rhonex Kipruto, has been suspended for suspected doping offences in yet another serious blow to the reputation of Kenyan athletics.

The 23-year-old, who also won a world championship bronze medal in 2019 as a teenager, was charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit with “use of a prohibited substance or method” after inconsistencies were found in his biological passport between July 2018 and March 2022. If found guilty he faces a four-year ban.

Kipruto, who set his 10km world record by running 26min 24sec in Valencia in 2020, has denied any wrongdoing and said he was ready to undergo a longitudinal study on his blood markers under 24-7 supervision. “I don’t cheat or dope! The truth is on my side,” he added. “This is all I can say.”

His manager, Davor Savija, said he had already spent $30,000 (£24,000) trying to prove his athlete’s innocence – and that independent physiologists believed there were other plausible explanations for Kipruto’s suspicious blood values, including periods of de-training, serious infectious disease and significant consumption of alcohol. Savija also claimed that there were also no red flags in Kipruto’s blood data in either 2019 or 2020, which were his two most successful seasons.

Kipruto’s coach, Brother Colm O’Connell, who guided 800m world record-holder David Rudisha to glory at London 2012, also insisted he was clean. “I carefully choose who I work with and to whom I dedicate my energy,” he said. “I know Rhonex is an honest young man and it hurts me to see him suffering now.

Our strategy is to train hard, and that’s the only way we achieve results. I have said many times that I am in favour of systematically combating doping so that we can protect clean athletes like Rhonex.

Still, Kipruto faces an uphill struggle to clear his name. If found guilty, he will join the 65-strong list of Kenyan athletes that are currently banned for doping offences.

Those include the 2021 Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyokei, who was handed a six-year ban for using the prohibited substance triamcinolone acetonide. The 2017 Paris Marathon winner, Purity Rionoripo, was banned for five years after testing positive for the banned diuretic furosemide.
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