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Former Kenyan world champion given six-year doping ban

Rodgers Kwemoi's results have been disqualified from July 18, 2016, to Aug. 8, 2023, including his U20 world 10,000m title and bronze medal from the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Rodgers Kwemoi Photo by: Joan Pereruan

On Friday, former world U20 champion Rodgers Kwemoi of Kenya received a six-year doping ban from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after several irregularities were detected in his athlete’s biological passport (ABP) data.

The ban will be backdated to Aug. 8, 2023, and all of Kwemoi’s competition results from July 18, 2016, to Aug. 8, 2023, will be disqualified, including his world U20 10,000m title from 2016 and his 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medal.

The AIU says it notified Kwemoi about irregularities detected in his ABP profile in May 2023 and that it were considering suspending him. The 26-year-old was given several months to respond to the charges and explain the abnormalities, but he did not respond within the given timeline. Kwemoi then responded later, claiming the irregularities were natural and stemmed from frequent changes in climate, altitude and other factors. His explanation was rejected by the AIU.

The purpose of analyzing an athlete’s ABP data is to monitor select biological parameters over time that may indirectly reveal the effects of doping. This approach allows the AIU to generate individual, longitudinal profiles for each athlete and to look for any fluctuations that may indicate they have been using performance-enhancing drugs.

The AIU disciplinary tribunal found that Kwemoi engaged in a deliberate, systematic and sophisticated doping regime, which would not have been possible without deliberate intent and the assistance of experts.

“All the athlete’s results obtained since July 18, 2016, until the date of the provisional suspension are disqualified under Rules 9, 10.1, and 10.10 of the 2021 Anti-Doping Rules,” the AIU statement read.

Rodgers Kwemoi Kenya
Kenya’s Rodgers Kwemoi leading Canada’s Moh Ahmed in the men’s 10,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Kevin Morris

Kwemoi defeated Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo to win gold in the 2016 World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Two years later, he won bronze behind Canada’s Moh Ahmed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He finished fourth in the 2019 World Championships and seventh at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the 10,000m. With Kwemoi’s disqualification, Canada’s Ahmed will move up to fifth in the results of the 10,000m at the 2019 World Championships from his previous sixth.

Kwemoi has been a training partner of former marathon record-holder Eliud Kipchoge at the Global Communication camp in Kaptagat, Kenya. There is no word on whether Kwemoi will challenge the decision through an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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