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Wilson Kipsang, former marathon world-record holder, banned 4 years

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Wilson Kipsang, a former marathon world-record holder and Kenyan Olympic bronze medalist, was banned four years for whereabouts failures — not being available for drug testing — and providing false evidence in his case.

Kipsang had been provisionally banned in January in the case handled by the Athletics Integrity Unit, track and field’s doping watchdog organization. Athletes must provide doping officials with locations to be available for out-of-competition testing. Three missed tests in a 12-month span can lead to a suspension.

Kipsang, 38, received a four-year ban backdated to Jan. 10, when the provisional suspension was announced. His results since April 12, 2019, the date of his third whereabouts failure in a 12-month span, have been annulled. He is eligible to appeal. The full decision is here.

Kipsang won major marathons in New York City, London, Berlin and Tokyo between 2012 and 2017.

He lowered the world record to 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, a mark that stood for one year until countryman Dennis Kimetto took it to 2:02:57 in Berlin. Another Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge, lowered it to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Kipsang, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, last won a top-level marathon in Tokyo in 2017. He was third at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and 12th at his last marathon in London in April 2019, a result now disqualified.

Other Kenyan distance-running stars have been banned in recent years.

Rita Jeptoo had Boston and Chicago Marathon titles stripped, and Jemima Sumgong was banned after winning the Rio Olympic marathon after both tested positive for EPO. Asbel Kiprop, a 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017.

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MORE: Christian Coleman suspended after disputed missed drug test

Swimmer cites mom’s blood for doping ban

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Argentine swimmer Guillermo Bertola has been banned for four years and stripped of his 2019 Pan American Games silver medal in a doping case in which he said he received a transfusion of his mother’s blood.

The governing body of swimming said Thursday the case against the 30-year-old open-water swimmer was based on irregular blood readings in his biological passport.

When Bertola was contacted for the investigation, he blamed altitude training and the “use of a snorkel and mask with hypoxic effect,” FINA said.

He later acknowledged getting a blood transfusion in January 2018 while sick with gastrointestinal problems.

Bertola’s mother testified at a hearing conducted by video link, and the FINA judging panel noted a “troubling … general lack of detail in the testimony.”

Bertola has been banned until January 2024. He will lose all medals and prize money gained since January 2018, including his silver medal in the 10-kilometer race at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

He also took bronze at the 2011 Pan American Games and represented Argentina at four world championships.

MORE: Lilly King, Olympic hopeful swimmers train in Indiana pool

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Christian Coleman suspended after disputed missed drug test

Christian Coleman
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World 100m champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended for missing drug tests, a ban he saw coming after appealing his last missed test Dec. 9.

Coleman detailed his case Tuesday night, saying a drug tester did not make an adequate attempt to find him.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which handles doping cases for track and field, listed Coleman as provisionally suspended for “whereabouts failures” — any combination of three missed drug tests and/or filing failures in a 12-month period. A filing failure could mean incorrectly filling out forms to tell drug testers where an athlete can be found, or not submitting quarterly forms at all.

Olympic-level athletes must be available for out-of-competition drug testing 365 days a year, providing their daily whereabouts, including a more specific daily one-hour window, to help drug testers find them. Coleman has never failed a drug test.

A provisional suspension is for an unspecified period, defined as one “prior to a final decision at a hearing.” Neither the AIU nor Coleman has said if or when a hearing is scheduled. In whereabouts failures cases, a suspension, once finalized, is one to two years depending on degree of fault. That puts Coleman’s 2021 Olympic hopes in jeopardy even if a ban is backdated.

“A [two-year ban] would just be very egregious,” Coleman, who is still appealing, said on the Flotrack podcast. “I think that would be very, I don’t know, overkill. In situations in the past, I’ve seen people be suspended for only a year. If that’s the case, hopefully it can be a situation where it’s December to December or maybe May to May or from this day to next year, and I’ll still be good for the Olympics. That’s what’s most important.

“Even if we had to work out some sort of deal or anything, I don’t know, man, for me to just be suspended a year and still be available for the Olympics, I’m not sure, but I think in the rulebook it says two years. I’ve never seen that done or happen or anybody face that, so we’ll see. Everything’s just kind of like up in the air.”

Coleman said the drug tester did not attempt to call to find him and that he has received phone calls every other time he was not at home for a drug test.

“The lack of any telephone call does not give the Athlete a defence to the assertion of a Missed Test,” the AIU said in an email Wednesday, noting it is not commenting on Coleman’s ongoing case. “Testing conducted by the AIU is on a no-advanced notice basis and instructions not to make any phone call to an Athlete are given to Doping Control Officers [drug testers] by the AIU (with limited exceptions).”

Coleman’s other defenses: the address on the missed drug test report was incorrect — “He messed up the two or three words in my address,” Coleman said on the Flotrack podcast. “Maybe he was at the right place. Maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know.”

Coleman also said he returned home before the end of the one-hour window that the drug tester said they waited for him. That hour was 7:15-8:15 p.m.

“I know that I was there within the hour because I watched the beginning of the Monday Night Football game,” Coleman said on the podcast. “Of course, that’s he said, she said. It’s not really much I can do. There’s no real proof of that.”

Last summer, Coleman was cleared in a case of missed tests when a violation was backdated, meaning the third strike came more than 12 months after the first one.

He continued competing — winning that world title to cement Olympic favorite status — with two strikes on his record from January and April. That meant another strike before Jan. 16, 2020, would be his third in a 12-month period and could result in a suspension.

Coleman, a 2016 Olympic 4x100m relay member, was the world’s fastest 100m sprinter in 2017, 2018 and 2019, succeeding the retired Usain Bolt. His goal is to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Tokyo Games.

The world’s second-fastest 100m sprinter last year was Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion who is bidding for the same Olympic triple.

MORE: World 400m champion explains missed drug tests

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