Kenya’s former Olympic and three-time world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop has vowed to make a successful return to the track after his four-year doping ban elapsed on Wednesday.
Kiprop, 32, was suspended in April 2019 for taking the blood-boosting drug EPO but he has always protested his innocence.
“I was falsely accused of doping. But I have accepted my fate, served my time and now I am ready to return to the track,” he told AFP.
He said his main target was the World Championships at Hayward Field, Oregon in June.
Kiprop became the first Kenyan to win the 1500m gold at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
He went to win two more world titles in 2013 and 2015 to add to the 2008 Olympic gold medal he was awarded after the original winner, Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain, tested positive for doping.
Kiprop, a police chief inspector, said he will make his domestic return at the Kenyan police track and field championships in Nairobi on April 6, where he will seek selection for the national championships and the world athletics trials.
But he will skip the 1500m and instead compete in the 800m, which was his initial event as a junior athlete.
“I want to start small and win for my employers, the Kenya police, who diligently stood by me all the four years,” said Kiprop.
“I want to begin like an amateur,” he quipped. “It is going to be a hard time since I have to shed my weight by five kilogrammes (11 pounds). I want to post good times and progressively go up the ladder and qualify to represent Kenya again.”
“I don’t anticipate any opposition from the Kenyan athletics federation, which have in the past refused to accept athletes who have served major doping suspensions from competing for the country due to the negative publicity that accompanies them.”
Kiprop said he has undergone four out-of-competition tests since December and was happy to be back on the approved list of Anti-Doping Association of Kenya (ADAK) accredited athletes.