Kenya’s athletic officials Wednesday banned the national 400 metres champion Elizabeth Muthoka for two years after she failed a dope test. Athletics Kenya (AK) has also cancelled the new 400 metres national record of 50.8 seconds set by Muthoka this year.
Muthoka tested positive for banned substance nandrolone at the National Athletics Championships on on 28 June. It was at the meet that she rose to prominence, breaking the then national record twice in two days.
“She was one of six athletes selected randomly to undergo tests at the national championships and in accordance with IAAF stipulations, we have handed her an automatic two year ban,” AK secretary-general David Okeyo told journalists in Nairobi.
Okeyo said that Muthoka had taken prescription medicine before hand. “She had declared on the form that she was taking drugs to boost her haemoglobin levels but whatever she has tested positive for is different from the drugs,” the AK official said.
He said AK had kept the matter under wraps until it had comprehensively studied the results and given her time to appeal. “It is a sensitive matter that could have legal implications so we had to wait until all the paperwork had been completed and resolved before breaking the news,” he said.
The reigning Africa 10,000m bronze medallist Grace Momanyi’s axing from the team to the Beijing Olympics also turned out to be a thorny issue with the officials failing to comment until a report is compiled and presented to the National Olympic Committee.
Muthoka has had a good season this year, smashing a 24-year-old national record on 26 June when she clocked 51.4 seconds to eclipse Ruth Waithera’s 400 metres record of 51.56 seconds set way back in 1984 during the Los Angeles Olympics.
Then at the national trials, she further lowered it to 50.8 seconds. She was then selected for the Olympics but she never made the trip.
Two time New York marathon runner-up Susan Chepkemei was banned for a year after testing positive for Salbutamol.
Simon Kemboi tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2000 while boxer David Munyasia was sent home from the Athens Olympics after testing positive for cathene (miraa).
Okeyo said Muthoka has to meet some IAAF requirements before making a come back.