By Mercy Imali
The disturbing trend of our athletes getting caught out doping hangs a shadow on the pride of Kenya. Long-distance runner, Salome Jerono Biwott is the latest casualty. She has been slapped with an eight-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
It is quite painful as this is her second Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Jerono was first banned for two years in 2013 after failing a drug test following her win at the 2012 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon.
The 36-year old tested positive for Norandrosterone, a substance that is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. The test was conducted after she finished second at the Sao Paulo International Marathon in 2 hours 37 minutes and 33 seconds on 7th April.
She is the fourth Kenyan to be suspended within the last two months after World Half Marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum, 2017 World Champions 5,000m representative Cyrus Rutto and Felix Kirwa were sanctioned. Jerono’s ban now brings the count to 10, the number of Kenyan elite athletes suspended or banned for doping offenses.
The explanation provided by the athlete, according to AIU didn’t add up. Jerono alleged that she had had an injection of Depo-Provera (Medroxyprogesterone) two weeks prior to the race. She apparently did not request analysis of the B Sample.
The AIU offered her the opportunity to either admit the Anti-Doping Rule Violations and accept an eight year period of ineligibility, or to request a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal, by no later than 4th July, an offer that she did not respond to.
She was given a final opportunity to respond on 9th July with a two day response window or waive her chance for a tribunal hearing, an opportunity that she also passed on.