Kipsang, who held the world record between 2013-18, won the London Marathon twice (2012, 2014) and also won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. (Picture courtesy: London Marathon/Twitter)
Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang has been presented with a four-year ban for anti-doping rule violations which included using a fake photo of a traffic accident to justify why he missed one of the four whereabouts appointments, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Friday.
World Athletics said Kipsang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics, had not been able to attend four whereabouts appointments between April 2018 and May 2019. According to the rule three failures within 12 months result in an automatic ban. The Kenyan’s sanction however was increased after it was found out that he had tampered with the investigation by providing “false evidence and witness testimony”.
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Kipsang, 38, said he missed a test on May 17, 2019 because he was stuck in an accident that happened due to an overturned lorry and also provided a photo of the crash. However, when the image was looked into, it was found that the accident had taken place more than three months later, on August 19, 2019.
A year earlier, Kipsang blamed a landslide caused by heavy rain which led to him missing another test – however investigators found no traces of inclement weather on the day in question.
“The World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal has banned long-distance runner Wilson Kipsang of Kenya for four years with effect from Jan.10, 2020 for whereabouts failures and tampering by providing false evidence and witness testimony,” the (AIU) said in a statement.
“The athlete engaged in fraudulent and deceitful conduct by providing deliberately misleading and false information to the AIU in an attempt to obstruct and delay the investigation into his explanation and/or prevent normal procedures from occurring, namely the recording of a missed test against him.”
Kipsang was initially handed a provisional suspension in January. His competitive results from April 12, 2019 to January 10, 2020 were also deemed as disqualified. He now has the right to appear in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Kipsang’s management agency, Volare Sports, also confirmed they were planning to appeal to the CAS. “Volare Sports and Wilson strongly believe in a clean sport and support anti-doping measures. We emphasise that there is no case of use of doping,” the agency said via a statement. “No prohibited substance was ever found. We will study and analyse the decision and consider further legal steps. Pending this process we will not communicate anything more about it.”
Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control gives the athlete a mandatory four-year ban.
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The AIU said all the violations committed by Kipsang were treated as one and grave punishment was added to his term.
Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei acknowledged the ban as “very sad news”.
“Athletes should learn from such consequences because these are the things that we keep talking about every day. And unfortunately we still continue getting these kinds of results,” he told Reuters.
“It affects everybody. It demoralises even ourselves. Why do they continue getting into that, particularly top athletes, elite athletes, who should be role models? … They are giving a bad example.”
Kipsang joins a long list of his compatriots who were presented with sanctions in recent years, including 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong.
Kenya was among the countries that were put under a compliance list by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA’s) in 2016.
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