Sixth-fastest marathoner in history faces 10-year doping ban

Titus Ekiru Kenya

Another Kenyan doping scandal has rocked the marathon world. On Monday, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) provisionally suspended the sixth fastest marathoner in history, Titus Ekiru, related to multiple positive doping tests and tampering. Ekiru faces a lengthy 10-year ban.

According to the AIU, Ekiru tested positive for the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide at the 2021 Milan Marathon, which is prohibited for use in competition unless an athlete is granted an exemption for medical use. Although Ekiru claimed medical treatment as the reason behind the first positive test, his defense of him took a blow when he tested positive for a synthetic opioid after winning the Abu Dhabi Marathon in November 2021.

Two charges of tampering have also been added to Ekiru’s case, submitting falsified medical explanations and documentation to the AIU for both positive tests. The charges of submitting falsified medical explanations and documentation for the positive tests further compound the severity of the case.

Athletics Integrity Unit suspects doping conspiracy in Kenya

Ekiru ran a time of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds to win the 2021 Milan Marathon, the sixth fastest time in history only a minute and a half behind Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39 at the time.

The AIU highlighted a concerning trend of triamcinolone acetonide usage among Kenyan athletes, casting a shadow of doubt over the credibility of their performances. The substance gained notoriety when British cyclist Bradley Wiggins used it with a medical exemption while competing at the 2012 Tour de France, a race he went on to win.

Titus Ekiru
Titus Ekiru on top of the podium at the Milan Marathon. 2023 Boston Marathon champion Evans Chebet to his left. Photo: W/C

The 31-year-old will now defend himself before the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal, fully aware that a potential 10-year ban hangs over his head.

Ekiru trains in KapsabetKenya, with 2 Runners Club under the prestigious Italian marathon coach Claudio Berardelliwho also coaches two-time Boston Marathon champion Evans ChebetTCS Toronto champion Benson Kipruto and 2022 London Marathon champion Amos Kipruto.

According to the AIU, more than 70 Kenyan athletes are currently serving provisional suspensions or bans. In late 2022, World Athletics and the Kenyan government committed $25 million to the fight against doping in athletics over the next five years.

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