Abraham Kiptum has been handed a four-year ban ©Getty Images

Kenya's Abraham Kiptum has been handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit over an athlete biological passport (ABP) violation.

Kiptum was provisionally suspended back in April, two days before he had been due to compete in the London Marathon.

The ABP programme collects and compares biological data to spot discrepancies over time, which can indicate possible doping.

Kiptum was charged in connection with "abnormalities in the haematological module of his ABP", that were alleged to have indicated blood manipulation.

The 30-year-old denies having used any prohibited substances or methods, with the Kenyan suggesting alternative explanations.

Kiptum suggested exposure to high altitude could be responsible for his elevated levels, along with claiming he had been a blood donor at the time.

He denied having ever used erythropoietin and said he had never tested positive for any prohibited substance.

The Tribunal ultimately ruled in favour of the AIU.

"It is telling the athlete's passport was considered blind by three independent experts from different but related disciplines; they did not know who the athlete was and they did not know each other's opinions when each first opined that the athletes ABP consistuted likely evidence of doping," the Tribunal said.

"Moreover, the expert panel has unanimously confirmed its view of likely doping on two occasions after the athlete's explanations."

Abraham Kiptum had been provisionally suspended two days before this year's London Marathon ©Getty Images
Abraham Kiptum had been provisionally suspended two days before this year's London Marathon ©Getty Images

The Tribunal also added they had been impressed by the coincidence of the change relied on by experts in haemoglobin concentration and the percentage of immature red blood cells, with the athlete's participation in two important races in his schedule, the Valencia half marathon and the Abu Dhabi marathon.

It claimed the case fitted "the template of use of rEPO in the run up to races of this kind followed by its abandonment shortly before the race so to avoid detection".

Kiptum had set a then half marathon world record of 58 minutes and 18 seconds in Valencia.

His time was five seconds better than the previous mark set by Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese in Lisbon in 2010.

Kiptum's result in the Spanish city is among the results the Kenyan has seen disqualified, with all results dating back to October 13 in 2018 removed.

The Kenyan received a four-year ban, which began on the date of his provisional suspension on April 26.

Kiptum is among 44 Kenyan athletes to be currently suspended for doping offences.

Those banned include Jemima Sumgong, winner of Kenya's first Olympic gold medal in the women's marathon when she crossed the line first at Rio 2016, who tested positive for EPO.

Last year, three-time world champion and Olympic 1,500m gold medallist Asbel Kiprop tested positive for EPO and was also banned.

Between 2004 and August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a World Anti-Doping Agency report published in September 2018.

The report concluded that anabolic steroid nandrolone, corticosteroids and EPO were the substances most used by Kenyan athletes.