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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's Julia Mumbi Muraga, winner of the 2014 Cologne marathon, has been banned for two years after failing a drugs test, Athletics Kenya (AK) said on Thursday.
Muraga's ban comes at a time when Kenya is under intense pressure to root out doping among its athletes who are viewed as some the world's best middle and long distance runners but have failed a number of drug tests.
Muraga, 31, tested positive for the banned blood-booster Erythropoietin (EPO), Athletics Kenya (AK) said.
Athletics Kenya chief executive Isaac Mwangi Kamande said Muraga has been summoned to defend her case.
"She still has time to appeal," Mwangi told reporters in Nairobi.
Muraga has been stripped of her Cologne title after the German Anti-Doping Agency discovered that she had returned a positive test. Ethiopia's Shasho Insermu, who was second in the race, has been named as the new winner by organizers of the race.
Dozens of Kenyan athletes have failed dope tests in the past two years. Kenyan government officials have blamed the growing doping cases on foreign agents and AK's failure to educate its athletes properly.
Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Pritha Sarkar