Two Kenyan athletes have been excluded from the ongoing world athletics championships in Beijing over suspicion of doping rules violations.
The news came to fore soon after their qualifying runs in Beijing.
Kenya’s new 400 meters record holder Joy Zakari was omitted from the semifinals of the women’s race on Tuesday evening and technically given a ‘DID NOT START’.
It is alleged that she may have failed a drugs test, thought to be a masking agent for the banned substance, Nandrolone.
Another Kenyan sprinter Francesca Koki Manunga is also alleged to have failed a doping test immediately after running the 400m women’s heat on Sunday.
She failed to progress to the semifinals and has since been provisionally excluded from further activities in the championships. Kenyan officials in Beijing have acknowledged engaging the IAAF on the issue, but have declined to give further comment.
Zakari, 29 topped her heat in 50.41 seconds and was primed to be one of the finalists in the women’s 400m pending her qualification from the semi finals which she unexpectedly skipped.
The runner has been in fantastic form this season. She thrilled with a 51.14 seconds run last July at the Safaricom Kasarani stadium in the women’s 400m erasing Rose Waithera’s 31-year old mark of 51.56 seconds in the 1984 Olympic final.
Koki on the hand was washed out in her qualifying heat finishing a distant seventh in 58.96 the second slowest time from the heats.
It was way off her personal best, the Kenyan record she set last year at the African championships in Morocco.
She lowered Rose Tata-Muya’s 55.94 mark set in 1991 at the All African games, two years before she was born.
Seven years ago, Zakari’s Kenya Prisons teammate Elizabeth Muthoka, the then national champion was banned for two years after she tested positive for Nandrolone.
The two failed tests puts the spotlight back on team Kenya whose preparations have been clouded by controversy following media reports in Germany and England.The reports allege that doping continues in Kenya and that there was widespread corruption within the Kenyan set-up to cover-up positive tests.