Stephen Kipchirchir handed 4-year ban

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 16:06 | By
Court gavel
Court gavel. PHOTO/Pexels

Kenyan long-distance runner Stephen Kipchirchir Kiplagat has suffered a major blow after being handed a four-year ban over doping.

A judgement rendered by the Sports Disputes Tribunal banned Kiplagat from participating in any marathon either local or international for a period of four years to April 2027 for violating Anti-doping rules.

Tribunal ruling

“The period of ineligibility shall be from the date of mandatory Provisional Suspension for a period of four years starting April 18, 2023 to April 17 2027. Disqualification of any and or all of the Athlete’s competitive results from December 18, 2022.” the sports tribunal ordered.

The tribunal led by its chairperson John Ohaga made the finding after agreeing with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) that the 34-year-old Kenyan athlete should be punished for having been found to have used the banned substance Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)/Pregnanediol, Androsterone and Etiocholanolone.

"Based on the evidence and legal framework presented, Kiplagat is subject to a four-year ineligibility sanction for the intentional anti-doping rule violation," the tribunal ruled.

Kiplagat was provisionally suspended by ADAK in March 2023 after his sample returned positive test for the banned substance and he did not provide enough proof that he had no intention to cheat when the matter was filed at the tribunal.

The Tribunal further concurred with ADAK's submission that the athlete's intention and level of fault when inducing the prohibited substance cannot be inferred and must be supported with concrete evidence.

"Kiplagat’s failure and inability to provide any cogent evidence highlighting that he did not intentionally use the prohibited substance means that his level of fault was high as there has been no other explanation stating otherwise, and thus he has not demonstrated no fault or negligence to warrant sanction reduction," Ohaga stated.

The tribunal found that Kiplagat has not met the requisite standard of care expected from an athlete.

During the hearing that was conducted virtually in November 2023, Kiplagat claimed he had used traditional medicine given to him by his mother but also later testified that he visited a pharmacy whose contact he lost after the loss of his phone under unfortunate circumstances.

However, he failed to prove that he did not willingly commit an Anti-Doping Rule Violation or that the violation committed was intentional, among other things that were being considered, leaving the tribunal with no option but to slap him with a ban.

List of recent bans

Kiplagat is the latest after recently Kenyan marathon runner Josephine Chepkoech was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit.

Kiplagat has featured in a number of road races such as the Running Loire Valley Tours in France, which he won in 2019, the same year he ran the Sevilla Marathon as well as the Eldoret City Marathon.

His personal best in the marathon is 2:11:45 which he ran in Linz, Austria in 2108.

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