NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A man was arrested and will face fraud charges for cheating his way into second place at Kenya’s Nairobi International Marathon.
Police and race officials said the man, identified as 28-year-old Julius Njogu, hid among a group of spectators before joining Sunday’s race near the finish.
Njogu claimed second place in a sprint finish after breezing past another competitor in the final stretch at Nyayo National Stadium. He was in line to claim around $7,000 in prize money before being caught out and disqualified.
Officials said they became suspicious because Njogu showed no signs of fatigue and was not sweating when he had supposedly just run 42 kilometers (26 miles). They discovered that he’d run barely one kilometer after emerging from a bunch of onlookers and joining the leading group of runners just outside the stadium.
Through the final few meters, Njogu jogged easily past a weary-looking Shadrack Kiptoo to cross second. Joshua Kipkorir won the men’s race in two hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds. Elizabeth Rumokoi won the women’s title in 2:29.32.
Television images showed Njogu arguing with race officials, and even removing his running shoes in an apparent attempt to show organizers blisters on his feet to prove he’d run the entire course.
“I followed the leading team from start to finish and I didn’t see him,” said race director Ibrahim Hussein, a former Boston and New York City Marathon champion. “He will not be recognized, and I’m so disappointed that one can cheat in this modern age. He didn’t finish second.”
In 2013, two athletes were disqualified at the Nairobi marathon after also attempting to cheat their way to podium finishes in the women’s race.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.