Felix Kirwa has been handed a nine-month suspension by the IAAF after his sample collected from the 2018 Singapore Marathon tested positive for banned substance Strychnine.
Kirwa admitted committing the violation with the Athletics Integrity Unity (AIU), which implements the IAAF’s anti-doping rules, preferring a reduced suspension for the Kenyan.
Such a violation would normally attract a two-year period of indelibility but the AIU established the athlete bore ‘No Fault or Negligence’ as to how the substance entered his system.
In his defence, Kirwa explained he had been taking herbal medicine products including ‘Arthritis Care’ and ‘Goodcare Arthplus’ to treat arthritis prior to competing in Singapore.
“Following consultation with a scientific expert, the AIU is satisfied that the presence of Strychnine in the Sample is consistent with the Athlete’s ingestion of the herbal medicine products ‘Arthritis Care’ and ‘Goodcare Arthplus’.
“He is not an experienced, educated Athlete2; and a search of the ingredients given on the product label of the herbal medicine (Sudh Kuchla/Strychnos nuxvomica) against the WADA 2018 Prohibited List would not have identified a prohibited substance.
“In light of the above, including the Athlete’s relative age, inexperience and that the prohibited substance did not expressly appear on the herbal medicine product labels, the AIU proposed to the Athlete on 17 May 2019 a period of Ineligibility in this case of nine (9) months,” the AIU said in a statement.
Kirwa’s results from 9 December 2018 to 14 February 2019 have thus been disqualified with all resulting consequences including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points, and appearance money.
Kirwa, who won the race in 2016, finished second behind Joshua Kipkorir in Singapore in a historic competition that saw Kenyans sweep all the first 17 places in the men’s category.
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