World 800m bronze medallist Kipyegon Bett fails drug test

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Kenyan 800m runner Kipyegon Bett faces a lengthy ban after testing positive for the blood-booster EPO.

Bett, 20, took bronze at last year’s World Championships in London.

“Yes, I have received a notification from AIU but I wonder how I could have tested for EPO when I had taken a break from competition to treat an injury after the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League in June,” Bett told Kenya’s Daily Nation.

“I had just filed my defence after I was accused of declining to give out my samples for testing.”

He had been provisionally suspended earlier this month for “refusing or failing to submit” to a drugs test.


Bett announced himself as the latest Kenyan middle-distance prospect with victory in the U20 World Championships 800m in Bydgoszcz, Poland in July 2016.

A year later, he impressed in the heats at the senior World Championships before taking the bronze medal behind France’s Pierre Ambroise-Bosse.

Bett faded badly inside the closing stages but just managed to hold on for third ahead of Britain’s Kyle Langford inside the London Olympic Stadium.

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After the news broke concerning his rival on Friday, Langford expressed his displeasure on social media.

Bett is currently awaiting the results of the B sample which, if it confirms the positive test, could see him suspended for four years.


Bett is one of several Kenyan runners who have fallen foul of anti-doping procedures in recent months.

Beijing 2008 1500m gold medallist and three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop is provisionally suspended after news of a positive test for EPO came to light in May.

Asbel Kiprop claims his third 1500m world title
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop celebrates his third 1500m world title at Beijing in 2015

Kiprop proclaimed his innocence but later announced that he would not fight the charges, blaming lack of finances and support.

The 28-year-old is likely to be banned for four years, virtually ending his career.

Rio 2016 marathon winner Jemima Sumgong received a four-year sanction last November, also for EPO, after claiming it was administered by doctors for an ectopic pregnancy.

The IAAF is pressing for Sumgong to be banned for a further four years for allegedly providing fake documentation in her defence.

Fellow marathon runners Lucy Kabuu and Samuel Kalalei have also failed tests this year.

Sprinter Boniface Mweresa also returned a positive test in June.

Kenya was deemed non-compliant by WADA in May 2016 after more than 40 athletes had been banned in the previous five years.

As with Russia, Kenyan athletes were required to undergo special testing to allow them to compete at Rio 2016.

But the African nation was restored to the WADA fold just days ahead of the Games.

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