As our faith in the IAAF started to return, due to the acts of Sebastian Coe and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) coming down hard on the drug ‘cheats’ of the sport, discussing longer bans and more intense drug testing regimes, the sport took has taken a huge hit, as Asbel Kiprop recently tested positive for the use of EPO.
Asbel Kiprop has been the ‘face’ of middle distance running over the past few years, as a former Olympic and World Champion, with many hoping he would be the one to better Hicham El Geurrouj’ 1500m World Record of 3:26.00. As many athletes faced drug allegations, including Great Britain’s Mo Farah, Kiprop has been deemed a ‘clean’ athlete by the majority of the athletic world since his rise to Olympic Gold in 2008. As many were doubted, Kiprop was not, he was idolized. Until now.
Kiprop tested positive for the use of EPO – Erythropoietin – a drug that increases the bloods affinity for Oxygen, allowing an athlete to run harder for longer without feeling the same effects of Lactic Acid than they would prior to using the drug. Whether the drug results are completely valid and down to Kiprop himself are yet to be discussed, but it is safe to say this had disappointed the IAAF and athletics fans all over the world, as one of the greatest runners on the planet have been cheating.
Kiprop, naturally, denies that he ever used EPO. That being said, the news is out, and it has lead to a lot of questions which the answers will surely be investigated. How long has Kiprop been using EPO? Was he using the substance when he won Gold Medals, and clocked a 3:26.7 1500m? Or is it since he was struggling to make the podium in recent years? I am sure the IAAF will be doing thorough investigations into this matter. Further more, it has lead to the speculation that maybe more Kenyan athletes – who have seemed to dominated the middle to long distance events for years – are also using performance enhancing drugs, and if so, how have they been hiding it? Have Kenyan athletics found a way to pass their drug tests in a false manor?
All of the considerations that go along with the case should not be taken too seriously, as it is fresh on the scene and there is more information to be released regarding the test and perhaps previous tests of his. However, the matter remains that the sport is in dire straits, and eventually fans will become to believe that all of the fastest runners – past or present – are using drugs or otherwise ‘banned’ methods to get on top.