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Kenyan Athlete Michael Kunyuga Banned for Doping Offenses

Michael Kunyuga banned

Kenyan marathon runner Michael Njenga Kunyuga has been handed an eight-year ban for his involvement in doping offenses, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The 36-year-old athlete tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug norandrosterone and was additionally found to have tampered with the anti-doping process.


This marks the second incident involving Kenyan long-distance runners being penalized for drug-related violations, as marathoner Titus Ekiru received a ten-year ban in October. Kenya’s athletic reputation has taken a hit with a surge in doping cases that have tarnished its image as a powerhouse in the sport, with nearly 70 athletes, primarily long-distance runners, being banned over the past five years.

Michael Kunyuga Banned
Michael Kunyuga (Left) and Titus Ekiru (Right) [Photo: Athletics weekly/ Athletics illustrated]

The AIU investigation into Kunyuga revealed that he had submitted falsified medical information in an attempt to explain a positive drug test. This incident occurred after he secured the second position at the Riga marathon in Latvia in May last year. His ban became effective on August 1, 2022.

Norandrosterone is a banned performance-enhancing drug that enhances muscle growth, strength, and endurance, ultimately giving athletes an unfair advantage in competitions. The AIU stated that the athlete failed to demonstrate that the anti-doping rule violations were unintentional.

Read Also: Doping Scandal Rocks Kenyan Athlete After Tychy Half Marathon

This is the third Kenyan athlete to face a ban from international competitions within just two months. Titus Ekiru, banned in October, was found to have collaborated with a doctor at a Kenyan hospital to forge medical documents, attempting to mislead the anti-doping authorities.

The gravity of doping violations in Kenyan athletics is evident in the fact that nearly 300 athletes from Kenya have faced penalties for using prohibited substances since 2015. Last year alone, 27 elite Kenyan runners were suspended for doping offenses, representing 40 percent of the athletes suspended at the highest levels of global track and field and distance running in 2022.

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The Athletics Integrity Unit is an independent anti-doping agency entrusted with the responsibility of assisting in the effort to clean up Kenyan running.


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