Paris: Kenyan athlete Pamela Chepchumba, sixth in the world cross country women’s championships in Switzerland in March, has failed a drugs test for the endurance-booster epo.
International Association of Athletics Federations communications director Nick Davis said Chepchumba was the first Kenyan to fail a drugs test.
John Ngugi, the 1988 Olympic 5,000m champion, was banned for four years after winning his fifth world cross country title in 1992 for refusing to take an out-of-competition drugs test.
Chepchumba tested positive in an out-of-competition test on the eve of the championships for epo which stimulates red blood cell production. Epo allows athletes to boost oxygen production allowing muscles to work harder and for longer.
She faces a two-year ban which would bar her from the 2004 Athens Olympics if a B test is positive on June 6.
The Spanish federation revealed two weeks ago that Alberto Garcia, the European 3,000m and 5,000m champion, also failed a test for epo at the cross country championships in Lausanne.
The IAAF said three weeks ago that three men and two women runners tested positive at the championships. The other athletes have yet to be named.
Aussie tests for Athens
Meanwhile, Australia’s sports drug testing agency said Wednesday it would carry out an unprecedented 3,800 anti-doping checks on Olympic athletes ahead of next year’s Athens Games, adds a report from Sydney.
John Mendoza, chief executive of the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA), said Australian athletes would be checked both at home and abroad over the next 12 months in the largest government-funded drug testing programme in the nation’s history.
“In our test distribution planning for next year we have put a much greater emphasis on Olympic sports so that Australia can be confident that our athletes going into Athens are doing it under fair means and we’ve done all we can to deter the use of any banned substances,” Mendoza told a senate hearing in Canberra. “In terms of numbers of tests, we are aiming to deliver 3,800 test next year,” he said, adding that this is about 500 more tests than the agency carried out previously in a year. “The bulk of those will go into the Summer Olympic sports and particularly those sports where Australia has a high international ranking,” he said.
He said the tests would include urine and blood samples and checks for the banned performance enhancing drug epo.
Mendoza said Australian athletes competing or training overseas in the lead-up to the Olympics would also be hit with ASDA drug testing. “We envisage doing more tests overseas in the next 12 months than we have in the last 12 months in the lead up to Athens and given the number of Australian elite athletes who will be based or involved in Europe,” he said.