Kipyegon Bett, Kenya’s world 800 metres bronze medallist, has tested positive for banned blood booster Erythropoeitin (EPO), Athletics Kenya (AK) officials said on Friday.
AK executive committee member, Barnabas Korir, said the body received notification from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Thursday that the 20-year-old had submitted a positive sample.
The AIU handles integrity and doping issues for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Should Bett’s B sample match his A sample, he will face a ban from the sport. He is already serving a provisional suspension for failing to submit to sample collection on Aug. 15.
“We had submitted defence for the case of ‘refusing or failing to submit to sample collection’ by today’s (Friday) deadline. But last night, we received another notification about the new (EPO) case,” Korir told Reuters.
“We have kicked off due process, accorded to every athlete as per the rules set by AIU. If the second test confirms the first one, then the athlete will have to face full consequences of the (anti-doping) law,” he said.
If his positive test is confirmed, Bett will join a growing list of Kenyan athletes to have flouted anti-doping rules. Milan Marathon winner Lucy Kabuu tested positive for morphine earlier this month. Samuel Kalalei, winner of Athens Marathon last November, also tested positive for EPO on June 4.
Kenyan-born Bahraini runner Ruth Jebet, the 2016 Rio Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, and former Olympic and three-times world 1,500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, were suspended after their samples tested positive for EPO on Feb. 4 and 3 respectively. Kiprop denied wrongdoing.
Other previous high profile Kenyan athletes who failed dope tests are 2016 Olympics marathon winner Jemima Sumgong and former Boston City Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo.