Friday, November 10, 2017

TZ runners handed four-year ban

Tanzania’s long distance athlete Elia Sidame

Tanzania’s long distance athlete Elia Sidame compete in a past race. PHOTO | FILE 

By Yohana Challe @TheCitizenTz

Arusha: Two Tanzanian athletes have been banned for four years each for doping.

This comes a few months after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced that the duo tested positive for the banned performance enhancing drugs.

Athletics Tanzania (AT) imposed the punishment on the runners yesterday after it found them culpable for the offence.

AT secretary general Wilhelm Gidabuday named the athletes as Elia Sidame and Msandeki Ikoki.

Gidabuday said Sidame and Ikoki tested positive for the banned blood booster Norandrosteron when they competed in races held in China and Brazil last year.

Norandrostenedione is on the list of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

According to the AT official, Sidame competed in two marathons in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 16 and November 13, last year where he finished fifth in both races.

Msandeki, on the other hand, tested positive for the banned drugs after competing in the CXD Xiamen International Marathon on January 2, this year.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong has suffered a four-year ban for similaer offence.

The 32-year-old tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO in an out-of-competition test by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Kenya.

Erythropoietin is a natural hormone that stimulates red cell production. For a runner, injecting an artificially produced version increases oxygen absorption which allows them to run harder and faster without tiring.

Sumgong, who also tested positive for a banned substance in 2012, starred at the London Marathon in 2016.

, defying the odds to win despite suffering a bruising fall.

Steeled by her success in London, she then became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon gold, defeating Ethiopia’s world champion Mare Dibaba in Rio to confirm her status as the world’s top marathon runner of 2016.

Due to her suspension she was unable to defend the titlein London this year.

Earlier this year, Sumgong was one of a number of top Kenyan athletes who welcomed a new initiative to eradicate doping, which has tarnished their image, agreeing to be monitored by doctors appointed by the IAAF and Athletics Kenya.

“It will be easy for us now to communicate with these doctors before we take any medicine when the need arises,” said Sumgong.

The move came after an investigation by German television channel ARD and Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper last July alleging that doping was rife at the elite training centre in Iten.

Kenyan athletics boss chief Jackson Tuwei warned that any athlete who failed to comply would not be selected to represent the country in international competitions.

“Forty-nine athletes have been found to have violated the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code in the past five years but were cautioned according to the laws of the land and WADA code,” he said earlier this year.

Sumgong’s former training partner, the 2014 Chicago and Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, is serving a four-year ban after also testing positive for EPO.