Kenyan champ Kiprop tests positive for EPO

Kenyan champ Kiprop tests positive for EPO

Asbel Kiprop

Former Olympic 1500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop vowed on Wednesday to clear his name after reports emerged that he has tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug EPO.

Kenyan newspaper The Standard reported a high-profile athlete had failed a doping test, without naming Kiprop.

British newspaper The Guardian quoted Kiprop as saying: "As an athlete, I have been at the forefront of the fight against doping in Kenya, a fight I strongly believe in and support.

"I would not want to ruin all what I have worked for since my first international race in 2007. I hope I can prove that I am a clean athlete in every way possible."

Kiprop's agent, Frederico Rosa, told The Guardian he had also heard the rumours but had no further information.

The sample is believed to have come from an out-of-competition test taken late in 2017.

It would be a serious blow to Kenyan athletics if it is confirmed that 28-year-old Kiprop, one of the biggest names in the country's stellar cast of middle-distance athletes, has tested positive for the endurance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO).

Kiprop originally came second in the 1500m final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was upgraded when Rashid Ramzi tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and was stripped of the gold medal.

Three-times Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, also managed by Rosa, were among around 50 Kenyans who have failed dope tests in the last six years.

Kenya has been fighting intense criticism of its anti-doping efforts after more than 40 athletes tested positive over the past five years.

Three years ago, Kenya was rated "non-compliant" by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) before being reinstated prior to the Rio Olympics.