© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

Yesterday, Athletics Illustrated reported that five athletes were recently suspended for doping. Seven more from Ethiopia are under investigation. Today, nine more athletes have been suspended.

Brett Clothier, the head of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) warned the athletics community this past summer that things would get worse before they get better regarding Kenyan doping.

“The AIU has today published provisional suspensions for the following nine athletes (some back-dated from July until now): Yousef Mohammed Al-Asiri (Saudi Arabia), Rebecca Jepchirchir Korir (Kenya), John Hakizimana (Rwanda), James Gikunga Karanja (Kenya) Vilmante Stašauskaitė (Lithuania), Farida Soliyeva (Uzbekistan), Esther Birundu Borura (Kenya), John Tello Zuniga (Colombia) and Purity Temutai Komen (Kenya). Public disclosure of the back-dated suspensions was delayed due to prolonged investigations in those cases. Details here (new additions highlighted in bold.”

Although most of the nine athletes warrant drug testing, none of them are near the top of their respective distances competition-wise. The exceptions are Hakisimama who holds the national record in the marathon for Saudi Arabia at 2:08:18. The 25-year-old Komen has run the half-marathon as fast as 1:06:30 and the 10K in 30:49, both garnering her 1203 points in the World Athletics points rating system.

The variety of banned substances found are methylprednisolone, EPO, triamcinolone acetonide, norandrosterone, and meldonium.

Methylprednisolone is used in anti-inflammatory treatments for blood disorders and late vomiting induced by chemotherapy. Erythropoietin or EPO helps the body produce more red blood cells. Norandrosterone is an anabolic-androgenic steroid and is one of the most common PEDs being used globally. Triamcinolone acetonide is a synthetic corticosteroid. Meldonium is used to treat coronary artery disease, its efficacy for sports performance is in doubt, however, the product is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. All performance-enhancing drugs have side effects, some can be fatal.

Cover photo of Purity Komen winning the 2023 Istanbul Half Marathon. Photo credit: Spor Istanbul.