By Isaack Omulo
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan 5,000 meter runners Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiyu will not be allowed to compete at the athletics world championships in Doha after failing to meet anti-doping rule requirements, Athletics Kenya (AK) officials said on Tuesday.
AK had hoped that the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) would clear Kibet and Simiyu, who finished first and second at the Kenyan trials, to compete at the global championships that begin on Friday.
AIU rules state that athletes must go through three out-of-competition and one in-competition doping test to be eligible for the world championships.
AK Vice President in charge of competitions Paul Mutwii confirmed that the AIU had declined a request to enter Kibet and Simiyu in the global showpiece.
“Only Nicholas Kimeli and Jacob Krop (third and fourth at the trials) will represent us in Doha. Kibet and Simiyu have not been allowed because they did not comply with the AIU anti-doping rules. We are now very strict with the compliance rules, we cannot make a mistake,” Mutwii told reporters.
About 60 Kenyan athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations in the past five years. They include 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, 2016 Olympic marathon winner Jemimah Sumgong and former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo.
Officials said Kenya would still be strong contenders in the men’s 5,000m in Doha, with Kimeli among the world’s fastest in the event this year, having run 12 minutes 57 seconds in June.
“(Nicholas) Kimeli is the strongest among Kenyans, despite his third placing at the trials,” AK Council Member Barnaba Korir said.
The Kenyan team has suffered a number of setbacks in the lead up to the world championships.
Elijah Manangoi announced last week that he would not be defending his 1,500m title due to injury, while Jackline Wambui, who won the 800 meters at the Kenyan trials, and Linda Kageha, who was in the mixed relay team, withdrew after failing to take mandatory testosterone level tests.
(Editing by Toby Davis)