Nairobi, Kenya - Athletics Kenya Friday confirmed the banning of three distance runners for five years for committing doping offences.
The three are Wilson Erupe Loyanae, Moses Kurgat and Nixon Cherutich.
Loyanae and Cherutich will serve a suspension of two years each, while Kurgat has been sanctioned for a year. All three tested positive for banned substances.
Loyanae tested positive for EPO, or erythropoietin, in an out-of-competition test conducted last year, making him the first Kenyan athlete to be caught using the banned drug hormone which increases the red blood cell count.
Cherutich tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone, after competing in a race in Mexico.
A fourth, Francis Kibiwott, who represented Kenya at the 2007 World Half Marathon in Udine, Italy, finishing 45th, was pardoned after his case was positively reviewed by the medical commission of the athletics world governing body, IAAF.
Kibiwott successfully pressed his case for medical reasons and it was thereby established he was not using performance enhancing drugs.
Athletic Kenya Secretary David Okeyo told journalists that the recent busts did not mean the country is gripped by a full blown doping problem.
“We have nothing to hide. As soon as we establish any athlete has doped, we shall expose them. The procedures involved require a lot of time and the athletes must state their case before the Medical Commission, so the issue of AK not taking any action does not arise,” he added.
He added: “We are educating our athletes every day and doing all that we can to ensure that our runners do not fall into this problem.”