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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Marathon doping Kenyans under scrutiny? - BostonHerald.com

By John Connolly
Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 
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Boston Marathon officials are closely monitoring the state of world marathoning in the wake of Athletics Kenya officially asking the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate allegations of doping among its elite group of distance runners, according to a variety of reports.
“It’s something that’s always been on our radar. We want to make the sport as clean as possible,” Boston Marathon executive race director Tom Grilk said yesterday. “We advocate for out-of-competition drug testing for runners from countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. Why Kenya and Ethiopia? Because that’s where the champions are from, and if they were from Luxembourg we’d test (athletes) from there, too.”
Grilk said that if the allegations prove true against any athlete who cheats, then race organizers would react.
champion if it was improperly earned.”

QUESTIONS ABOUND: Kenya’s Matthew Kisorio, who finished 10th at this year’s Boston Marathon, tested positive for anabolic steroids in June.

If proven true, these doping allegations could wash over the sport like a tidal wave, as a vast number of East Africa countries like Kenya and Ethiopia have produced a plethora of champions at the World Marathon Majors circuit — Boston, Chicago, New York, London and Berlin.
Since 1988, when former UTEP runner Ibrahim Hussein became the first African male to win at Boston, Kenyan men have claimed 20 titles on the Hopkinton-to-Boston trek. Kenyan women own nine Boston crowns. The 40-year-old Falmouth Road Race, which has annually attracted an elite international field, has seen Kenyan men cop 18 titles and Kenyan women claim victory on 10 occasions.
The top three finishers at Boston are automatically tested for performance enhancing drugs, while at least two additional finishers among the top 15 are randomly tested. The tests are performed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Dave McGillivray, who serves as race director of both Boston and Falmouth events, said the issue would spur race directors everywhere to do their homework when assembling an elite field.
“I think all of this has just come out, but innocent until proven guilty,” McGillvray said. “The BAA will have to do its due diligence. All races that have this type of high caliber fields will have to be more sensitive to the issue.”
Four Kenyan runners have been sanctioned so far this year for doping offenses, according to the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the governing body for track and field. Athletics Kenya, which oversees the sport in that country, has already suspended Matthew Kisorio, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid at the Olympic trials in Nairobi, Kenya in June. In April, the 22-year-old Kisorio led Boston at the 30K mark before finishing 10th in 2:18:15.
It not is clear if Kisorio, who did not finish in the automatically drug tested spots, was among those randomly tested by USADA.
“For us to get to the root cause of these claims and for transparency, we are inviting the police and World Anti-Doping Agency to assist us with investigations,” Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat told the Associated Press this week

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