News
November 26, 2018

Another Kenya Runner Gets Popped Taking EPO

Another Kenya Runner Gets Popped Taking EPO

Kipyegon Bett tested positive for EPO when he finally decided to give a urine sample.

Kipyegon Bett, a 20-year old 800-meter specialist from Kenya, has been suspended for four years for doping. Bett was banned after committing two anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) this year. Bett refused to provide a urine sample. And Bett tested positive for the blood boosting drug erythropoeitin (EPO).

Franklin Rono, the doping control officer (DCO) employed by the International Association of Athletics Athletic Integrity Unit (AIU), arrived at Bett’s home to collect a urine sample on February 24, 2018. Bett met Rono but did not trust him and was “very suspicious” of him. As a result, Bett refused to comply with the sample collection process.

The refusal or failure to submit to sample collection is, in and of itself, considered a ADVR under the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules. Refusing to provide a sample is no different than testing positive for a prohibited drug.

EPO may have been the reason Bett refused to provide a sample earlier in the year.

Bett did eventually provide a sample when a DCO showed up to collect an out-of-competition urine sample on July 31, 2018. The sample was sent to a WADA-approved laboratory for analysis and showed the presence of recombinant EPO. In spite of the evidence, Bett strongly denied ever using EPO.

The two established ADRVs were considered a single ADRV for the purpose of determining the appropriate sanction. As a first time violation, Bett was handed an ineligibility period of 4 years from August 15, 2018 until August 14, 2022.

Bett won the bronze medal in the 800-meter event at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championship in London. Unfortunately, Bett will now miss out on the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha and the 2012 IAAF World Championships in Eugene as well as the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Bett is the latest in a very long list of Kenyan athletes to test positive for anabolic steroids and other prohibited performance-enhancing drugs. The Wold Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reported that 138 athletes from Kenya tested positive between January 2004 and August 2018.

EPO is the third most popular banned drug to be use by those Kenyan athletes who were caught. The most popular banned drug was the anabolic steroid nandrolone (Deca Durabolin). Approximately 50 Kenyan athletes tested positive for nandrolone followed by approximately 18 positives for corticosteroids.

"Nandrolone, corticosteroids and EPO are the most commonly used drugs by Kenyan athletes."

“Nandrolone, corticosteroids and EPO are the most commonly used drugs by Kenyan athletes.”

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