Kenyan athlete Titus Ekiru is facing a 10-year ban for four charges of anti-doping violations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Monday.
Ekiru has the joint sixth-fastest marathon time of 2:02.57, set en route to winning the Milano City Marathon in 2021.
The alleged violations relate to the use of a prohibited substance on two occasions, as well as two cases of tampering with doping control through the submission of falsified medical explanations and documentation.
“The 31-year-old’s charges stem from AIU investigations into Ekiru’s positive in-competition doping tests after marathon victories in the Milano Marathon on 16 May 2021 and the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on 26 November 2021,” the AIU said in a statement.
“Ekiru tested positive for Triamcinolone Acetonide after winning in Milan but was not immediately charged after the initial investigation appeared to validate his explanation that the result was due to legitimate medical treatment.
“The athlete tested positive for Pethidine after winning in Abu Dhabi, and again claimed the outcome resulted from legitimate medical treatment.”
The AIU said it had reopened an investigation into Ekiru’s doping charges last year, working alongside the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), before provisionally suspending the athlete in June 2022.
Following the investigation, the governing body rejected Ekiru’s explanations earlier this year for his positive doping tests, charging him with two cases of tampering.
“The elite marathoner – who has the right to defend himself before the Disciplinary Tribunal – is facing a potential ten-year ban,” the AIU added.
In April, the AIU and ADAK said a “medically-savvy operation” is helping Kenyan athletes cover up doping offences.
Betty Wilson Lempus, Eglay Nafuna Nalyanya and 10-km road race world record holder Rhonex Kipruto are among the Kenyan athletes to have received bans or provisional suspensions in recent months.