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The latest doping case from Kenya

Kenyan athelte Eglay Nalyanya has been banned for eight years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) backdated starting on March 18, 2022.

She was provisionally suspended in 2022 for the presence of the prohibited substance 19-norandrosterone, the use of the prohibited substance nandrolone or nandrolone precursors as well as tampering with part of the doping control process. Nandrolone as it is more commonly referred to is a recurring drug of choice for the East African nation.

Results have been disqualified dating back to February 1, 2022.

Nalyanya provided a urine sample in Feb. 1, 2022 at the Nationales Breuninger Hellenmeeting Hartwig Guader Halle in Erfert, Germany. She provided a second sample at the PSD Bank Indoor Meeting in Dortmund, Germany on Feb. 12.

Nalyanya lied about going to the Uasin Gishu County Hospital on Jan. 12 for stomach issues claiming to not tell the doctor that she was an athlete. She claimed a Dr. Davis Lukorito Wanambisi gave her an intramuscular injection and oral tablets.

After a thorough investigation by the AIU it was determined that there is no Dr. Davis Lukorito Wanambisi working at the hospital and the Jan. 12 intramuscular injection was not administered.

It is likely that the 26-year-old middle distance runner would have received a four year suspension if she did not lie about the doctor and injection and perhaps potentially fewer yet, if she would have assisted the doping control process. Her career is essentially over.

She ran an outdoor 1500m time of 4:05.68 in 2021 which earns a World Athletics performance rating of 1160 points. She also ran indoor and outdoor 800m performances in 2:00.26 and 2:00.28, which are slightly better. Nalyanya finished eighth in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 800m final. She did not quite make it to the top level of the sport, even with doping.

Two near identical cases found

The AIU has found two near identical cases recently, determining that the Kenyan athletes are being assisted in their doping and appeals.

Nalyanya’s compatriot Betty Lempus was banned for five years in January for two ADR violations. Nalyanya and Lempus told the AIU they received intramuscular injections while being treated at the same Kenyan hospital and produced falsified medical documents to support their respective claims. In both instances, AIU investigations – in collaboration with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) – discovered the documents were false; that the doctors listed were fictitious; and that neither athlete had received the respective injection though both women had attended the hospital on the respective days in question. In Nalyanya’s case, a hospital official testified the hospital has never stocked the medication (sustanon) which Nalyanya said she received, according to an AIU media release.

From 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games ID.

“It is obvious from the almost identical wording of parts of the letter from the supposed doctor (Dr Philip Murey) in the Lempus case that it was written by the same individual as the equivalent letter in the present case. The Lempus letter was written a month before the letter from Dr Davis Lukorito Wanambisi in the present case,” stated the panel.

“The pattern of behaviour is remarkably similar in both cases. There is no possibility in our view that the Athlete in the present case had the sophistication or medical knowledge either to draft the letter from Dr Davis Lukorito Wanambisi nor the email of 24 March 2022, nor indeed to set up the scheme employed in the present case.”

Ultimately, the panel reached the following damning conclusion.

“It seems that elite Kenyan athletes are being assisted by a person or persons, including someone with considerable medical knowledge, to commit what amounts to criminal conduct involving frauds on the AIU, and that this is not limited to a single case but evidences a pattern of behaviour. We regard this conduct as a matter of the greatest possible concern and urge the AIU to take all possible steps to establish how this is occurring.”