Athens marathon champ Kalalei suspended for doping

Nairobi : Athens Marathon champion Samuel Kalalei has become the fifth elite Kenyan to be suspended for alleged doping by the country's Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Several high ranking athletes from Kenya who have also been notified of their failed doping tests include former Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Lucy Kabuu, and Asbel Kiprop, the former world 1,500m champion, reports Xinhua news agency.

Other athletes suspended by AIU pending the conclusion of their cases include Hilary Kepkosgei Yego and Bahraini national Ruth Jebet, who trains and lives in Kenya.

Like Kiprop, Kalalei's sample had the presence of a Prohibited Substance (EPO) and he has a chance to defend himself before the AIU before a full ban is imposed.

"AIU has issued a notice of charge against Samuel Kalalei for a violation of Article 2.1 of the Anti-Doping Rules. The Kenyan marathon runner is provisionally suspended from all competition," AIU said on Tuesday.

Kalalei is the defending champion for the Athens Classic Marathon, having withstood the harsh and gruelling uphill course in the Greek capital last November.

"In doping cases, a provisional suspension is mandatory under the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules following an adverse analytical finding for any non-specified substance on the Prohibited List," said AIU.

The 23-year-old crossed the line in two hours, 12 minutes and 17 seconds, ahead of Milton Kiplagat Rotich, who clocked 2:14.18, with Jonathan Kiptoo Yego in third at 2:16.08.

This year in April, Kalalei finished seventh at the Rotterdam marathon. However, he was able to improve his personal best time to 2:10:44.