The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has suspended Kenya’s 10 kilometres road race world record holder Rhonex Kipruto.
In a statement Wednesday, the athletics governing body said Kipruto has been “provisionally suspended” for suspected doping.
The 23-year-old, who won 10,000 metres bronze in the 2019 World Championships, was charged by the AIU with “use of a prohibited substance or method” after inconsistencies were found in his biological passport between July 2018 and March 2022.
A biological passport can detect possible irregularities in blood values assessed over time without an athlete-testing positive for a banned substance.
If found guilty, Rhonex Kipruto faces a four-year ban.
Kipruto has maintained his innocence and said he was ready to undergo a longitudinal study on his blood markers under 24-7 supervision.
“I don’t cheat or dope! The truth is on my side. This is all I can say,” he added.
Kipruto’s manager, Davor Savija, claimed there were no red flags in the athlete’s blood data in either 2019 or 2020, which were his two most successful seasons.
Kipruto’s coach, Colm O’Connell, also maintained that he was clean.
“I carefully choose who I work with and to whom I dedicate my energy. I know Rhonex is an honest young man and it hurts me to see him suffering now,” said Brother Colm, who coached 800m world record holder David Rudisha to glory in 2012.
“Our strategy is to train hard, and that’s the only way we achieve results. I have said many times that I am in favour of systematically combating doping so that we can protect clean athletes like Rhonex.”
Should the AIU find Kipruto guilty, he would join 65 other Kenyan athletes that are currently banned for doping offences.