By Nick Butler

Former world junior champion Hamza Driouch has been handed a two-year doping ban ©Getty ImagesQatar's 2012 world junior 1500 metres champion Hamza Driouch has become the latest athlete to be banned for doping as a result of an adverse biological passport finding.

The 20-year-old Moroccan-born athlete had been one of the biggest rising stars in the sport, running a stunning 3min 35.73sec at the age of 16 in 2011, just a year after taking up Qatari nationality following a move to the Gulf nation.

In 2012 he won World Junior Championship gold in Barcelona, before reaching the semi-finals of the Olympics in London. 

He also won a 1000m silver medal at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, and won 1500m gold and 800m silver at the 2012 Asian Junior Championships in Colombo. 

Hamza Driouch en route to a medal at the Singapore 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games ©Getty ImagesHamza Driouch en route to a medal at the Singapore 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games ©Getty Images

But in the last two seasons he has struggled to replicate those performances, struggling with illness and a loss of form, finishing down in ninth place and running 19 seconds outside his personal best at the Incheon 2014 Asian Games. 

He has been handed a two year ban based on irregularities in his biological passport, the International Association of Athletics Federations has said, meaning he will be out of action until December 30, 2016.

That means he has no chance of competing at next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

Driouch becomes the latest athlete to be caught as a result of the biological passport readings, following the likes of Russia's London 2012 3,000m steeplechase champion Yulia Zaripova, who was banned last month and is set to be stripped of her Olympic gold.

But the case of the Qatari - who had seemed likely at one stage to be among the home stars at the 2019 World Athletics Championships now awarded to Doha - is a particularly sad one, as it illustrates the decline of an athlete once seen as one of the biggest future stars in the sport.

In comparison, the 2012 World Junior 800m winner, Botswana's Nijel Amos, has since won an Olympic silver medal in a world junior record of 1:41.73, before beating Kenya's world record holder David Rudisha to triumph at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

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