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Kenyan Marathon Runner Titus Ekiru Receives 10-year Ban

The 31-year-old is given lengthy punishment after comprehensive investigation by Athletics Integrity Unit

The Athletics Integrity Unit has banned marathon runner Titus Ekiru for a decade, in a case exposing collusion with a high-ranking doctor at a Kenyan hospital.

Ekiru, who was most known for running a marathon personal best of 2:02:57 – which put him joint-sixth on the world all-time rankings – in his victory at the Milan Marathon two years ago, has received such a lengthy ban because he has been found guilty on two charges of tampering as well as testing positive for banned substances on two occasions.

Those two positive tests came at the Milan Marathon (triamcinolone acetonide) and the Abu Dhabi Marathon (synthetic opioid) on May 16 and November 26, 2021.

Ekiru’s wins in both Milan and Abu Dhabi have been annulled. That includes any times and prize money from each event.

The AIU unearthed Ekiru’s collusion with a senior doctor in Nandi County, Kenya, from whom, on two occasions (April 29, 2021 and May 6, 2021), the athlete received injections of triamcinolone acetonide during undocumented hospital visits.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has prohibited triamcinolone since 2014 as it helps athletes lose weight without suffering a significant loss in power.

Titus Ekiru (Getty)

The AIU investigation also found that Ekiru had a third undocumented hospital treatment on November 19, 2021, during which the athlete received a pethidine injection and meperidine (pethidine) tablets, among other medication for acute pain.

The AIU stated: “The senior doctor claimed Ekiru’s visits were unrecorded by the hospital as ‘the athlete had attended early in the morning, before the registration offices had opened’.

“Ekiru said he received an outpatient number and card on his first visit on April 29 which he subsequently used on his second visit on May 6 but hospital documents obtained by the AIU revealed that the outpatient number was not issued to Ekiru until June 16, 2021; the one occasion on which the hospital confirmed Ekiru’s attendance as an outpatient.

“The Nandi County Director of Medical Services solidified the case against Ekiru with a series of damning conclusions – while also exposing the complicity of the senior doctor.”

The AIU therefore concluded that Ekiru’s medical documents submitted to them to explain his two positive tests were forged and were inconsistent with the hospital records.

Ekiru initially signalled his intent to contest the charges but once faced with the substantial evidence against him, the Kenyan decided that he no longer wanted to pursue the case.

His ban will run from June 28, 2022 – the date of Ekiru’s provisional suspension – until June 27, 2032.

The AIU has also formally requested that ADAK [Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya] refer the conduct of the senior doctor to the criminal authorities in Kenya for further investigation.

Source : athleticsweekly.com