Boston, Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo fails drug test

Rita Jeptoo

Rita Jeptoo, the two-time reigning Boston and Chicago Marathon winner, tested positive for a banned substance from a late September sample, according to RunBlogRun.

Jeptoo’s manager, Federico Rosa, confirmed Friday that he’s been informed her A sample tested positive but would not say more. Her B sample hasn’t been tested, according to the RunBlogRun report.

“I’m definitely confused,” said Claudio Berardelli, Jeptoo’s coach. “I’m trying to analyze it in my mind, what I’ve seen in training, what I’ve seen in races.”

Jeptoo tested positive for EPO but denied taking any drugs, according to Agence France-Presse.

Jeptoo, 33, repeated as Chicago Marathon winner on Oct. 12, following her third Boston Marathon title April 21. Jeptoo was not entered in the New York City Marathon, which goes Sunday.

She clinched the award given to world’s best marathoner this year, bestowed by the World Marathon Majors. The award ceremony scheduled for Sunday has been postponed.

The World Marathon Majors organization said it has a rule that no athlete can win its annual title if they’ve breached anti-doping rules. Also, any athlete found guilty of doping will not be invited back to its races.

“WMM has always held a stern line on drugs cheats and has been proactively supporting the sports governing bodies to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races,” it said in a statement. “Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught.”

In April, three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova received a two-year doping ban due to abnormal levels on her biological passport. The Russian is the second-fastest women’s marathoner of all time, behind Paula Radcliffe.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei

World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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Dmitriy Balandin, surprise Olympic swimming champion, retires

Dmitriy Balandin

Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.

“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”

Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.

In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.

He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.

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