Veteran Kenyan half-marathoner suspended for anti-doping violation

Kenyan runner Sammy Kitwara jubilates as he crosses the finish line after winning the "20km de Paris" race on Octobe 12, 2008 in Paris. Kitwara clocked the best men time with 57.42. AFP PHOTO PIERRE VERDY (Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Kenyan runner Sammy Kitwara crosses the finish line after winning the “20km de Paris” race in Paris. Kitwara clocked the best men time with 57.42. (Photo credit PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images)

Veteran half-marathon runner Sammy Kitwara of Kenya has been banned for 16 months following an anti-doping violation, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Friday.

Kitwara tested positive for the banned substance Terbutaline, according to the AIU.

The ban by athletics’ world governing body has been backdated to March 17 this year with his results in any event since then being cancelled.

The AIU added that the decision to ban the runner can be appealed.

Kitwara made his marathon debut in 2012 and finished second in the Chicago Marathon in 2014. Kitwara is also a 2009 Rotterdam half Marathon champion.

The 33-year-old is the latest in a line of Kenyan athletes who have been provisionally suspended in 2019 for violation of the IAAF anti-doping rules.

Earlier in the month, another Kenyan runner, Philip Kimutai, was banned for four years while two others had notices of allegations against them issued.

Kenya’s Sports minister had previously said that it plans to impose criminal penalties – including possible jail terms – on athletes caught doping, and it was working on new legislation on the matter.