Former national 100m champion Mark Otieno is gearing for a return to competition after the expiry of a two-year ban imposed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) following an adverse analytical finding during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Otieno was nabbed by the International Testing Agency (ITA) after a urine sample he provided on July 28, 2021 returned a positive for a banned substance.
He was subsequently barred from making his debut at the Olympics on the day he was meant to race in the qualifying heats.
The 28 year-old, who had clocked a personal best of 10.05 behind African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala at the National trials, denied any knowledge of the violation and he subsequently requested that his Sample ‘B’ be analysed.
But on August 13, 2021, AIU began disciplinary proceedings against four athletes who had violated anti-doping rules at the Games, all nabbed by the ITA.
The four included Odhiambo, Sadik Mikhou from Morocco, Benik Abramyan from Georgia and Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah.
The AIU has started disciplinary proceedings against 4 athletes asserted to have breached anti-doping rules @Tokyo2020 , following testing by @IntTestAgency.
Sadik Mikhou 🇧🇭
Benik Abramyan 🇬🇪
Mark Otieno Odhiambo 🇰🇪
Chijindu Ujah 🇬🇧
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) August 12, 2021
The AIU waited for the conclusion of ITA proceedings to determine whether any anti-doping rule violations have been committed and what consequences related to the Olympic Games should be imposed.
After exactly twenty days the AIU issued disciplinary proceedings against Odhiambo for the Presence/Use of a Prohibited Substance (19-Norandrosterone) as well as tampering with doping control procedures by and his case was forwarded to the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) for sentencing.
A day after issuing the disciplinary proceedings, the AIU extracted the tempering charge that had been imposed on him citing an error from their end.
“Information posted recently on the Athletics Integrity Unit’s website and its Twitter account erroneously stated that Mark Otieno Odhiambo was charged with Tampering.” AIU stated.
Information posted recently on the Athletics Integrity Unit’s website and its Twitter account erroneously stated that Mark Otieno Odhiambo was charged with Tampering.
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) September 1, 2022
But the charge of Presence/Use of a Prohibited Substance remained.
“The AIU apologises for this error and confirms that Mr Odhiambo’s case only concerns the Presence/Use of a Prohibited Substance. That case is currently before the Disciplinary Tribunal and no further comment will be made whilst the matter is pending,” said AIU.
The hammer then fell on December 19, 2022, when Otieno was slapped with a two-year ban after testing positive for the presence of a prohibited substance (Methasterone), against the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.
Mark Otieno Odhiambo for 2 years, starting 31 July 2021 for the presence/use of a Prohibited Substance (Methasterone). DQ results since 24 June 2021.
Details here: https://t.co/B7X96v20VH
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) December 19, 2022
However, Otieno will from August 1, 2023 be free to return to the sport and all eyes will be watching the direction his career will take, especially in regard to competition against the high-flying Omanyala, his biggest local rival from two years back.