Athletics News

World Record Holder Kipruto Issued a Doping Charge

World Record Holder Kipruto Issued a Doping Charge

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission. 

(17-May) — Rhonex Kipruto, the 23-year-old Kenyan who holds the world record for 10 kilometers on the road, has been charged with a doping violation by the Athletics Integrity Unit. Kipruto, who won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, was charged based on an abnormal reading from his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). The ABP “monitors a series of biological parameters through a dedicated software program to pick up on indications of doping,” reads the definition on the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) website.

“It is difficult and unfortunate for me to say that I find myself in a situation where my heart is broken,” said Kipruto’s manager Davor Savija in an e-mail. He continued: “The heartbreak is caused by the fact that I find all of the possible outcomes of this situation leading to a major loss. If Rhonex is lying –which I do not believe is the case– that is obviously a disaster. If all of these accusations are just a big mistake –such as a false positive ABP case or, God forbid, if AIU has ‘dropped the ball’– then all such scenarios are big losses.”

While there have been a string of doping cases involving Kenyan athletes over the last year, Kipruto’s case is different. He’s not a mid-tier athlete scraping together a living by hitting road races around the world for four-figure prize money payments. Instead, he’s a top star with a generous endorsement contract from adidas and under the tutelage of one of Kenya’s most respected coaches, Bro. Colm O’Connell guided David Rudisha to two Olympic gold medals and the world 800m record. O’Connell, an Irish missionary who has taught at St. Patrick’s High School in Iten since 1976, has been a coach for more than 40 years. None of O’Connell’s athletes have ever been charged with doping.

“A heartbreak also, as I observe Brother Colm, Rhonex’s coach and leader of St. Patrick’s athletics program, dealing with the pressure of this matter, at his age and after an almost 50-year career with the first-ever alleged doping case against an athlete in his care,” Savija said.

ABP cases are different from conventional failed drug tests where a banned substance is directly detected. Instead, an investigation is launched when an atypical value in blood markers is recorded….

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