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Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto banned for six years

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Rhonex Kipruto has been banned for six years for doping, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Wednesday, with the Kenyan set to lose his 10-kilometer road race world record and a world championship bronze medal.

Kipruto, 24, who won 10,000 meters bronze in the 2019 world championships, had been provisionally suspended on May 11 last year after irregularities in his biological passport going back to July 2018 were detected.

Kipruto is banned until May 10, 2029, after the AIU’s disciplinary tribunal ruled “irregularities in his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) resulted from doping”.

“The Tribunal rejected Kipruto’s defence, concluding the cause for the abnormalities in the ABP is more likely to be due to blood manipulation’ such as through the use of recombinant human erythropoietin (rEPO),” the AIU said, adding that there was no other plausible explanation for the abnormal values.

ABP monitoring selects biological variables in athletes over time and allows sanctioning without a positive doping test in the event of unanimity of a panel of experts.

The 24-year-old had denied the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) charge but the panel said it was “comfortably satisfied” that the Kenyan was involved in a “deliberate and sophisticated doping regime over a long period of time”.

Kipruto broke the 10km road race world record in 2020 in Valencia and won the 10,000 meters at the 2019 Stockholm Diamond League — results which will now be annulled.

The AIU has canceled all the athlete’s results between September 2, 2018, and May 11, 2023.

As a result, Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi will become the new world record holder over 10km after his 26min 33sec clocked last year.

Kipruto can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

(With input from wires)

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