Flomena Chepchirchir, who finished second at the 2012 Prague International and 2013 Frankfurt marathons respectively, is among eight Kenyan athletes banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations for doping.
Chepchirchir, who set a personal best of 2:23:00 at the 2013 Frankfurt Marathon and won the 2013 Seoul Marathon in 2:25:43, is the only athlete who has been banned for six months, with the rest getting a maximum of four years.
Chepchirchir tested positive for a banned substance at last year’s Prague Marathon in the Czech Republic.
She made her full marathon debut with a third place finish at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon before finishing second in the 2012 Prague Marathon and fourth in the 2012 Berlin Marathon. The 33-year-old from Embu is the winner of several half marathon races such as the 2012 Lille, 2011 Glasgow and 2011 Zwolle.
But the biggest casualty, with a maximum ban of four years, is Alice Ndirangu. The four-year ban rule for doping came into effect on January 1. Ndirangu came second at the 2013 Vancouver Marathon before winning Calgary Marathon in May, 2013.
This is the second time Ndirangu is testing positive for a banned substance. In 2012, she got a suspended sentence for a norandrosterone test.
Seasoned 2011 Standard Chartered Nairobi Half Marathon champion Elizabeth Chelagat, 28, who won the 2009 Disney World Half Marathon, and Emily Chepkorir, who won the 2014 Calgary Marathon in May in a course record of 2:30:00, have received two-years suspension.
Others who got two-year bans are Julius Mutai, who won the 2014 Copenhagen Marathon in May, Stephen Tanui, Philip Kandie, and James Nyankabaria.
Emily Chepkorir, Tanui, and Kandie tested positive for a banned substance after competing at the Media Marathon in Mexico on January 26, 2014.
Nyankabaria’s case goes back to 2012 at the International Pacific Marathon in Mexico where his case was put on hold pending further analysis.
The eight athletes add to the increasing list of Kenyan runners who have doped for a period dating back to 2012. By December 2014, 26 long distance athletes had tested positive for banned substances with seven cases yet to be determined.
Ndirangu, Chelagat and Nyankabaria’s cases fell under adverse analytical findings where IAAF and World Anti-Doping Agency needed time to study them.
The most prominent doping cases to rock the fraternity have been those of Rita Jeptoo and Matthew Kisorio.
Kisorio tested positive for norandrosterone on June 14, 2012, to receive a two-year ban that ended in July last year.
Jeptoo, who made history by winning four events in a World Marathon Major Series last season, is awaiting a sentence after she tested for Erythropoietin (Epo) on September 25, 2014.
Jeptoo retained both her Boston and Chicago Marathon titles last year to top the marathon major series.