6th April 2020

Traffic accident drugs result in four year ban for Kenyan

Vincent Kipsegechi Yator has been sanctioned with a four year ban from 1 October 2019 as the result of prohibited substances prescribed following a February 2018 road traffic accident, which left five dead including fellow distance runner, Francis Kiplagat. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics announced that the Kenyan, who finished third at the 2019 Honolulu Marathon, was charged with two separate anti-doping rule violations (ADRV) resulting from the same sample. 

Prednisone, prednisolone, and metabolites of testosterone (androsterone and etiocholanolone), consistent with exogenous origin, were detected in a 7 July 2019 sample given at the Gold Coast Marathon. Yator provided documentation from the Reale Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, after the AIU questioned whether such an adverse analytical finding (AAF) could have resulted from his hospital treatment. 

On further questioning, Yator supplied a certificate from the Reale Hospital outlining that he had been prescribed Locam MR and Vastarel MR on 23 June 2019. Three certificates were also received from the Garissa County Hospital, where he was treated with prednisone and prednisolone for an allergic reaction on 20 June.

The AIU then discovered an Atypical Finding (ATF) in the Steroid Module of Yator’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). The same 7 July 2019 sample underwent GC/C/IRMS analysis, which revealed androsterone and etiocholanolone, metabolites of testosterone that were also exogenous in origin. 

Yator argued that this second AAF was due to an injection he had received in April 2019 due to erectile dysfunction as a result of the road accident. A medical report from the Garissa County Hospital confirmed the treatment, but a clinician added that Yator had not disclosed his profession, adding that if he had known he was an athlete, he would have avoided treatment with testosterone.

The AIU dismissed Yator’s argument that his AAFs were unintentional, because he had not taken any steps to verify if the substances administered to him in the course of his treatment were prohibited. He also failed to disclose any of the substances on his doping control form when tested on 7 July 2019. 

‘There is however no suggestion that the athlete has been dishonest’, reads the Decision (PDF below). ‘The impression created by his testimony was that he was confused and appeared not to have understood questions which were put to him by both Mr. Wenzel, on behalf of the AIU as well as questions put to him by the Chair. One possible explanation for this might be that the language in which the questions were put to him were in English which is not his home or generally spoken language. There is however no doubt that he had no clear recollection of what he had been ingesting or what it was that he allowed to enter his system.’

The Decision is also critical of Athletics Kenya for failing to provide any education to such a high profile athlete. ‘The fact that he was so totally unaware of any of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules, in the opinion of the sole Arbitrator, presents a serious shortcoming of the Kenyan Athletics Federation, particularly since the Athlete is no novice to international level athletics competitions and participates therein to the knowledge of his Federation, which will no doubt have been made aware of the many tests the Athlete has undergone over the past five or more years’, it reads.

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