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Two Kenyan athletes fail drug tests at World Championships

497   //    26 Aug 2015, 17:21 IST
29-year-old Joyce Zakary of Kenya has been handed a provisional ban after testing positive for banned substances

Koki Manunga, 21, and Joyce Zakary, 29, both of Kenya, have tested positive for banned substances at the IAAF World Championships currently underway in Beijing, China. 

The runners, who both compete in the 400m have been suspended following test results, the IAAF announced earlier today. The pair were tested at their hotel in the Chinese capital on the 20th and 21st of August, and have now both accepted the provisional bans meted out to them by the IAAF. 

Although Manunga did not compete in yesterday’s 400m heats, Zakary set a national record of 50.71 seconds, and finished the first heats in second. She finished 8th overall, which qualified her for participation in the semi-finals, but the ban came into effect prior to the event. 

There are 13 other athletes from the country who are currently serving suspensions for doping. The IAAF, following the release of the names of Manunga and Zakary, said names and data were only released by the organisation once suspensions were already in place. 

English newspaper The Sunday Times, in conjunction with German broadcaster ARD, obtained data from anonymous whistleblows early last month, and following testing by their own forensic scientists, allege that several athletes who participated in and won medals at both the London Olympics 2012 and the London Marathon were doping. The IAAF for its part said it would not speak about the data until it had independently researched allegations. 

The report, the Sunday Times alleges, says that 18 Kenyan athletes who had won medals in the last decade had done so under ‘suspicious’ conditions, by which they meant athletes were alleged to be under the influence of performance enhancers.

Kenya currently leads the medal tally at the championships, with 5 gold, 3 bronze and 2 silver medals, with a total tally of 10. Their closest competitors in terms of a direct medal tally is the United States of America – however, the USA has only 1 gold, with two silver and a bronze. 

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