The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on July 10 that Kenyan long-distance runner Alex Korio was given a two-year ban for whereabouts failures in 2019. Korio, who was a member of Eliud Kipchoge‘s pacing team at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna last October, was provisionally suspended in May for missing three tests between January and July 2019. His ban will retroactively commence on July 19, 2019, and he will be barred from competition until July 18, 2021.
The AIU has banned Kenyan road runner Alex Korio Oliotiptip for two-years from 19 July 2019 for whereabouts failures, a violation of the @WorldAthletics Anti-Doping Rules.
Read the full decision here ⬇️https://t.co/cBkQOqSHT4#AIUNews pic.twitter.com/wF2yhQWry8
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) July 10, 2020
The AIU website states that athletes receive whereabouts failures in two ways: through filing failures or missed tests. Athletes must provide their location to anti-doping officials for a one-hour window every day. If the location is inaccurate or an athlete misses a test, they receive a whereabouts failure. Three whereabouts failures in a 12-month span results in a provisional suspension, and if an athlete cannot provide evidence or a valid reason for one of those missed tests or filing failures, they will be banned from competition.
According to the AIU report on Korio’s case, he missed three tests in 2019, the first on January 20, another on April 11 and the last on July 19. The AIU wrote that Korio “failed to respond and to provide any explanation concerning the apparent Missed Test” following each whereabouts failure.
— Jessica Gagne (@JessicaGagneTV) August 3, 2019
Even though the decision to ban Korio was officially made recently, his ban is scheduled from July 19, 2019, the date of the third whereabouts failure, until July 18, 2021. While he will be able to compete once again a year from now, any hopes he had of racing in the Olympics have disappeared. His ban will end five days before the postponed Tokyo Games are set to begin, and he will miss any opportunity to qualify for the Kenyan team. Korio has never made an Olympic team, although in 2019 he represented Kenya at the world championships in the 10,000m, where he finished in 11th place.
Since his ban has been backdated to July 2019, Korio will be stripped of any results he ran that followed his third missed test. That includes his run at the world championships in Doha, a win at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine and an eighth place finish in January at the Valencia 10K in Spain. In addition to being stripped of these results, Korio will have to return any prize money he won at these events.
The AIU confirms the withdrawal of a Notice of Charge issued against Gabrielle Thomas of the USA for Whereabouts Failures. Thomas’ provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect.
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) July 3, 2020
American sprinter Gabrielle Thomas was provisionally suspended at the same time as Korio in early May. Like Korio, Thomas was charged for whereabouts failures, but her suspension has since been lifted after she provided the AIU with evidence regarding one of her missed tests.