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Former 1,500m world champion suspended for whereabouts failures

The 2017 world champion Elijah Manangoi was given a provisional suspension on Thursday

Kenyan 1,500m world champion Elijah Manangoi has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for whereabouts failures. Manangoi has won multiple world championship medals, and he is the 10th-fastest 1,500m runner in history. He most recently competed in the Impossible Games in a 2,000m team event with 2019 world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot. News of Manangoi’s suspension comes just 11 days after it was announced that fellow Kenyan Alex Korio was banned from competition for two years for missed drug tests. 

Whereabouts failures 

The AIU website says athletes can receive whereabouts failures for two reasons: filing failures and missed tests. World Athletics anti-doping rules state that athletes must keep testers up to date regarding their whereabouts on a daily basis. This way, they can be found for drug tests. If an athlete doesn’t update their whereabouts information on time, they will receive a filing failure. They can also register filing failures when forms have been filled out inaccurately. Missed tests are rather self-explanatory. If an athlete misses a test because they aren’t where they said they would be, they are served with a whereabouts failure. Athletes who receive three whereabouts failures in a 12-month span will be provisionally suspended, as is the case with Manangoi. 

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The spring and summer months of 2020 have seen many athletes suspended for whereabouts failures. In May, Korio was suspended along with U.S. sprinters Gabrielle Thomas and Deajah Stevens, both of whom had also received received three whereabouts failures each. Like Korio, Stevens has also been banned from competition since the initial suspension, but the charges against Thomas were dropped after she proved one of the missed tests was invalid. 

A month after that trio of suspensions, 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain was suspended for whereabouts failures as well. Not long after Naser’s suspension came the biggest of them all when Christian Coleman was busted for another round of missed tests. Coleman, the 100m world champion, infamously got away with missing three drug tests in 2018 and 2019 after finding a loophole that allowed him to compete at the world championships. His innocence didn’t last long, and he is currently serving a provisional suspension while the AIU examines his case. 

RELATED: Former marathon world record-holder Wilson Kipsang receives 4-year doping ban

Manangoi’s running resume 

Manangoi won a silver medal in the 1,500m at the 2015 world championships, and he followed that up with a gold in 2017. He represented Kenya at the Rio Olympics, and he is the reigning Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion. He could be a threat for a medal at next year’s Tokyo Games, but if the AIU finds his suspension to be valid, he will be banned and likely miss the Olympics.

In addition to the news of Manangoi’s suspension, the AIU announced on Thursday that three other Kenyan athletes have been suspended or banned from competition. Long-distance runner Patrick Siele was suspended after “evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection” and marathoners Mercy Kibarus and Kenneth Kipkemoi were both banned for the presence of illegal substances. Kibarus was given an eight-year ban and Kipkemoi, who finished third at the 2019 Boston Marathon and who was provisionally suspended in February 2020, has been banned for two years.

RELATED: Top-10 finisher at Toronto Waterfront Marathon given 12-year doping ban

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