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Sports News

'My mistake' - Kenya's Manangoi accepts AIU ban decision

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Doha - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - May 3, 2019 Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi celebrates winning the men's 1500m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s former 1,500 metres world champion Elijah Manangoi said he accepted the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) decision to hand him a two-year ban for anti-doping violations but insisted that he was a clean athlete, according to a statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.

Manangoi, who will be ineligible to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, was provisionally suspended in July after missing three tests under whereabouts rules and the AIU said on Friday his ban would be effective from Dec. 22, 2019, which was the date of the third “whereabouts failure”.

The ruling means the disqualification of all Manangoi’s competitive results since then “with all resulting consequences, including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money”, AIU said.

“I have received the verdict from AIU and as I sit here, I have acknowledged that I made a mistake on my whereabouts failures and I have accepted their decisions, though it will be difficult to forgive myself,” Manangoi said in a statement shared by his coach.

“I’m a clean athlete and I will be back on track and win right.”

Manangoi became the latest Kenyan athletes to be sanctioned in recent years, a list that includes 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong.

The 27-year-old Manangoi won the world title in 2017 in London and bagged gold at the Commonwealth Games a year later. A stress fracture prevented him from defending his world crown last year.

Manangoi’s ban comes after American 100 metres world champion Christian Coleman was suspended for two years last month for breaching whereabouts rules.

The AIU said on Friday that Manangoi had accepted the punishment for his violation and waived his right “to have those consequences determined by the Disciplinary Tribunal”.

Reporting by Omar Mohammed; editing by Jason Neely

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