Kipyegon Bett, Kenya’s world 800m bronze medal winner, has tested positive for the banned blood booster erythropoeitin (EPO).
The Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnabas Korir said it received notification from the Athletics Integrity Unit on Thursday that the 20-year-old had submitted a positive sample. The AIU handles integrity and doping issues for the International Association of Athletics Federations.
If his positive test is confirmed, Bett, who finished just ahead of Britain’s Kyle Langford to win his medal at the world championships in London last year, will face a ban. He is already provisionally suspended for failing to submit to sample collection on 15 August.
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“We had submitted defence for the case of ‘refusing or failing to submit to sample collection’ by Friday’s deadline. But last night, we received another notification about the new case,” Korir said.
“We have kicked off due process, accorded to every athlete as per the rules set by AIU. If the second test confirms the first one, then the athlete will have to face the consequences,” he said.
If his positive test is confirmed, Bett will join a growing list of Kenya athletes to have flouted anti-doping rules. The Milan marathon winner Lucy Kabuu tested positive for morphine earlier this month. Samuel Kalalei, the winner of Athens marathon last November, also tested positive for EPO on 4 June.
The Kenya-born Bahraini runner Ruth Jebet, the 2016 Rio Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, and the former Olympic and three-times world 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, were suspended after their samples tested positive for EPO in February. Kiprop denied wrongdoing.
Other Kenya athletes who failed dope tests are the 2016 Olympic marathon winner Jemima Sumgong and the former Boston City marathon winner Rita Jeptoo.