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Asbel Kiprop waiting for WADA clearance over doping allegations   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya is holding onto the hope that his provisional suspension from athletics on doping charges will be overturned.

Speaking in Eldoret, Kiprop said he had been left high and dry after a routine anti-doping test, with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) saying his results tested positive for the banned blood-boosting drug EPO.

However, the 29-year-old has vehemently denied doping, saying his sample was switched. 

His case has not been completed and as he waits for answers that may or may not clear him of the doping allegation, he has opted to start training in order to remain fit.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that I am running clean and I have never taken any doping drugs to boost my performance. I don’t belong to the group of dopers and my name needs to be cleared so I can do what I love most, running,” said Kiprop on Monday evening.

Kiprop’s sample was taken in an out-of-competition test in November 2017.

The AIU, which processes all doping tests in track and field for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), is unable to confirm the result of any tests under the World Anti-Doping code.

2018 has not been a good year for Kenya, with several top athletes banned for cheating.

Aside from Kiprop, other names on that list include world junior 800m champion Kipyegon Bett, Milan Marathon champion Lucy Kabuu, African Games silver medalist Boniface Mweresa and Athens Marathon champion Samuel Kalalei.

Owing to his suspension, Kiprop is not allowed to train, let alone compete, with other athletes. This has seen him retreat to his rural home where he trains at the grounds of a nearby primary school, side by side with grazing livestock. 

Ten years ago, Kiprop was beaten to the Olympic gold medal by Bahraini Rashid Ramzi. However, he was elevated to first place days later when Ramzi failed a doping test. Kiprop then went on to dominate in the four-lap race, winning three world titles.

Over 50 Kenyan athletes have tested positive for doping since 2012, and in 2015 the country was deemed “non-compliant” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), only to be reinstated before the Rio Olympics.

Together with Ukraine, Ethiopia, Venezuela and Morocco, Kenya has been deemed one of the countries whose athletes are most likely to dope.

This means its athletes will have to pass stringent testing before being allowed to compete in the Olympics, World Championships and major city marathons. 

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