Rhonex Kipruto reveals next move after six-year ban by Athletics Integrity Unit

Rhonex Kipruto reveals next move after six-year ban by Athletics Integrity Unit

Abigael Wafula 18:04 - 08.06.2024

Talented road runner Rhonex Kipruto has promised to fight for the truth and noted that he is innocent following his six-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit.

World 10km record holder Rhonex Kipruto was slapped with a six-year ban for irregularities found in his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).

An ABP is an electronic record that tracks an athlete's biomarkers over their career and if the markers change dramatically it alerts officials that the athlete might be doping.

The talented road runner, however, will not accept to go down without a fight and has promised to fight for his rights. With the ban, it means that Kipruto will be stripped of his record, which he set in Valencia in 2020, and the 10,000m bronze medal he won at the 2019 World Championships. He will be eligible to compete again in May 2029.

Kipruto released a statement, noting that the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) panel of experts evaluated the ABP records for the period July 2018 to March 2022. He added that all the out-of-competition (OOC) and in-competition (IC) tests, more than 50, were negative.

“All (but one OOC test) were unannounced. Rhonex was tested in and out of his specified 1-hour testing slots – morning, mid-day, and evening.

“In total, there were 32 ABP blood tests (2 IC and 30 OOC) – from those 32, on 20 occasions urine samples were collected as well. Additional 17 IC urine tests were done, plus 3 more urine-only OOC tests.

"Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA), EPO, ferritin, among other substances, were frequently tested for. There were no positive results for any of the banned substances,” a part of the statement read.

His management also noted that Kipruto’s whereabouts are very regular and predictable and there were no ABP flags in 2019 and early 2020, which was by far his most successful athletic period to date.

“After lengthy, costly and often very frustrating process, the matter was heard on 22 April 2024 – Disciplinary Tribunal (managed by an independent dispute resolution service – Sport Resolutions, 1 Paternoster Lane, St Paul's, London, EC4M 7BQ) with Dr Tanja Haug (Chair), Mr Roland Adjovi and Mr Julien Berenger on the Panel,” the statement added.

On his part, Kipruto said: “I hope that in time my medical diagnosis will be clear both for myself and for this case. I don't cheat or dope! The truth is on my side. This is all I can say.”

Meanwhile, Davor Savija, Kipruto’s world athletics athletes’ representative advised the athlete to follow the lead of legal and scientific teams. He also urged Kipruto to patiently wait for pending genetic testing to come in and to have legal and scientific teams evaluate the case further.

“I am aware of the spiritual, psychological and financial burden all these medical investigations have had on Rhonex and appeal at CAS needs to be considered in light of these massive challenges as well.

“My wish is that this press release reaches various scientists and legal minds, with hope Rhonex gets additional support as he searches for the truth in relation to how his body functions and how this functioning is captured by the ABP.

“Rhonex’s well-being, short-term, mid-term and long-term remains of grave concern and this is being discussed with several members of his family and local community,” he said.