(Reuters) - Kenyan long-distance runner Patrick Siele has been banned for three-and-a-half years for fleeing from anti-doping officials who were trying to collect a sample, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Thursday.
Siele is the latest in a long line of Kenyan athletes to be sanctioned in recent years, including 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong.
Former 1,500 metres world champion Elijah Manangoi, who is also from Kenya, was provisionally suspended in July for missing three tests under the whereabouts rule. [nL5N2EU530]
The AIU global disciplinary body said in a statement that Siele ran away from anti-doping personnel and an independent witness confirmed he "hurdled a fence to escape from the compound" in Kapsabet in west Kenya on Dec. 18 last year.
His sanction has been backdated to March 16, 2020.
Siele's ban was initially set for four years but was reduced by six months after he "promptly admitted the violation".
"The AIU... agreed to a six month reduction in the sanction, taking into account... that this was his first experience of out-of-competition testing and his relative lack of anti-doping education which may have contributed to his error of judgment on the day," the AIU said.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)