Kenyan marathon runner Lawrence Cherono has been handed a seven-year ban for violating anti-doping regulations. The 35-year-old athlete was initially suspended for four years after testing positive for a banned substance. An additional four years were added for attempting to tamper with or mislead the investigation, but this was reduced by one year due to Cherono’s early admission and acceptance of the sanctions.

Lawrence Cherono wins the 2019 Boston Marathon. Photo by: John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

Cherono’s provisional suspension began in July 2022 following a positive test for the heart medication trimetazidine (TMZ). The ban is backdated to his initial suspension, which means Cherono will be ineligible to compete until 2029.

The former Boston and Chicago marathon champion initially claimed that a doctor had administered the substance to treat stomach pain. He later changed his story, attributing the positive test to a mix-up with his wife’s medication.

Brett Clothier, head of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), emphasized that the ban serves as a strong deterrent to those considering breaking the rules. “This decision highlights the AIU’s relentless efforts to investigate doping violations and scrutinize the explanations for positive tests,” he stated. “The AIU is committed to thoroughly executing its mandate.”

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In related developments, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was banned for four years earlier this year after testing positive for TMZ just before the 2022 Winter Olympics. In 2021, 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for the drug were allowed to compete at the Tokyo Games after the China Anti-Doping Agency determined they had unintentionally ingested the substance through contamination.

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