PARIS (AFP) – Athletics global governing body is to launch a doping crackdown on elite marathon runners after scandals involving top Kenyan and Russian stars.
Organisers of the top races in London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo and Berlin have agreed to finance extra testing of top runners by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The finance from World Marathon Majors (WMM) means that the top 150 runners will face tougher testing after races and out of competition.
Failed tests by Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova, who was the second fastest women in history, and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, three-time winner of the Boston marathon, sullied the name of one of the original Olympic disciplines.
Jeptoo — who in the past two years has achieved the Chicago/Boston double — was one of 35 Kenyan athletes suspended over the past two years for taking banned drugs.
The WMM “offered their contribution to our programme,” said Thomas Capdevielle, the IAAF’s anti-doping manager, announcing the clampdown.
He said it “basically means systematic ABP (athletes biological passport) testing at the races on all the elite field, as we have been doing for the past two years, but also urine tests out of competition.”
Drug investigators would have “more resources to follow a group of 100-250 elite marathon runners in the world,” Capdevielle added.
“So we will have like a sub-group that we will very closely follow up.”
He added that a new drug testing laboratory to be opened in Kenya within three months would be a “significant achievement.”
Capdevielle called it a “priority project” that would analyse blood tests on Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Ugandan athletes.