Rabat: Moroccan steeplechaser Brahim Boulami failed a dope test the day before breaking his own world record earlier this month, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Thursday.
Boulami tested positive for the banned stamina-boosting substance erythropoietin (EPO) on August 15 as part of the IAAF’s pre-competition testing for the substance, the sport’s governing body said in a statement.
The 30-year-old smashed the world record for the 3,000 m steeplechase by over two seconds with a time of 7:53.17 seconds August 16 in Zurich.
“Both blood and urine were taken, according to IAAF rules and internationally accepted procedure,” the statement said. “Both the athlete and the Moroccan federation were informed about this test result confidentially and the athlete immediately invoked his right to request the B sample to be tested to confirm the A result.”
It is not known when the B sample will be tested.
Boulami told Morocco’s official news agency MAP that he was shocked at the test result and vowed to prove his innocence. “How can I be accused of taking a banned substance when I regularly undergo medical tests, the number of which have multiplied since I first beat the world record last year'” he asked. “I train in high altitude in Ifrane (Morocco) four to five months a year, that’s the only doping I could be accused of. I’ll wait for the result of the other (B sample) test and I am willing to undergo all kinds of tests.”
Belgium’s Moroccan-born distance runner Mohammed Mourhit was suspended for three-years earlier this month after testing positive for EPO before the world half-marathon championships in May.
Boulami had been due to run in this year’s meeting Friday but has voluntarily withdrawn from the event. Meeting organiser Wilfried Meert told journalists at a news conference with US sprinter Marion Jones Thursday that he refused to condemn Boulami until all the circumstances were clear and the Moroccan’s B sample had been tested..