Kenyan world cross-country medalist handed 4-year doping ban

Kenyan world cross-country medalist handed 4-year doping ban

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) hit Olympian Alice Aprot, 29, with a four-year ban from competition on Monday after a positive drug test she recorded in May 2022. Aprot was provisionally suspended from competition as of July 2022, following the positive result, and after a lengthy investigation, ADAK took the next step and banned her until 2026 (her ban begins retroactively, from when her suspension started). Aprot has continually claimed she is innocent and did not knowingly ingest any illegal substances, blaming the positive test on medication she received from a Kenyan pharmacist.

Aprot’s career

Aprot has had several big results in her career. In 2015, she won 10,000m gold at the African Games, and represented Kenya at the Rio Olympics a year later. In Rio, she finished just off the podium, in fourth place. Her compatriot her, Vivian Cheruiyot, won silver that day, breaking the Kenyan 10,000m record of 29:32.53, a mark that still stands. Aprot also beat the previous Kenyan record in Rio, and her PB of 29:53.51 is still the second-fastest 10,000m result in national history.

A year after her near-miss at the Olympics, Aprot finished second at the 2017 world cross-country championships in Uganda. A few months later, at the track and field world championships, she finished just off the 10,000m podium again, once more crossing the line in fourth place. After a hiatus from competition in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Aprot made a comeback in 2022, which eventually led to her positive drug test.

A four-year ban

As noted in the ADAK report on Aprot’s case, she submitted an explanation for her positive test result, stating that she had taken an unknown medication while at a training camp. She claimed that she had experienced “sharp breast pains” (she was breast feeding at the time) and subsequently “rushed to the nearest pharmacy.” In her explanation to ADAK, Aprot said she told the pharmacist on duty that she was a professional athlete and she could not take certain substances. According to Aprot, the pharmacist “assured [her] that the prescribed medication did not contain any prohibited substance and she proceeds to ingest the prescribed medication.”

When asked by ADAK if she had researched the medication before taking it, Aprot said she had not. She also said she hadn’t even looked to see what the medication was called before taking it. “She claimed that she was in pain and did not bother to check,” the ADAK report reads.

After considering Aprot’s case for several months, ADAK officials officially banned her from competition. The report notes that “it is evident that [Aprot] … acted in good faith by taking the prescribed medicine in order to manage the lingering breast pains.” However, officials added that even if Aprot did not knowingly take a banned substance, it was her job to ensure that all medications she took were approved by anti-doping agencies. “Athletes or other persons shall be responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the prohibited list,” the report says.

The start of Aprot’s ban has been backdated to July 14, 2022, meaning she will not be eligible to compete again until July 13, 2026.

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