Jemima Sumgong

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Olympic marathon champion banned 4 years

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Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong was banned four years for EPO after a doping tribunal rejected her explanation that the blood-boosting hormone was in her system because she was treated at a hospital in Kenya days before her failed test.

The tribunal found no legitimate record of the hospital visit and treatment for an ectopic pregnancy claimed by Sumgong, it said Tuesday in a decision released by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.

The panel ruling on her case said the 32-year-old Sumgong’s hospital story was “inconsistent at best.”

“We might go so far as to state that the athlete’s attempt to explain how the substance entered her body bordered on an attempt to deceive the panel,” the ruling said.

Sumgong became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic marathon in Rio. She failed an out-of-competition test on Feb. 28 and was banned for four years from April 3, the date her provisional suspension was announced.

It makes her ineligible for the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sumgong is the highest-profile athlete on a long list of Kenyans to be banned for doping in recent years. Her case follows that of Rita Jeptoo, who was the top women’s marathon runner in the world when she also tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test in Kenya in 2014. Jeptoo also received a four-year ban.

Sumgong waived her right to have her backup “B″ sample tested and said she had taken EPO unintentionally after visiting Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi six days before her doping test to be treated for an ectopic pregnancy. She claimed she was suffering from severe abdominal pain and was given a blood transfusion and unidentified medication by an unnamed doctor.

The Olympic champion couldn’t provide the name of the doctor who supposedly treated her or reliable documents showing she was admitted to the hospital, the tribunal said. It said documents she provided were denounced as fake by the hospital.

The hospital visit was not disclosed by Sumgong at the time of the doping test. She said that was because of the “taboo” surrounding ectopic pregnancies and she wanted to hide it from her husband, who is also her manager.

The only record the hospital had of a visit by Sumgong was in April, when she inquired about treatment for ectopic pregnancies.

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya said it believed Sumgong was taking EPO ahead of the defense of her London Marathon title in April.

Sumgong has also won the Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons and finished runner-up in the Boston, Chicago and New York races.

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Rio Olympic marathon winner fails drug test

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Rio Olympic marathon winner Jemima Sumgong tested positive for EPO, track and field’s international governing body (IAAF) said Thursday.

Sumgong failed the drug test in February, according to London Marathon officials, which said that she is provisionally suspended and won’t be allowed to defend her London title April 23.

Sumgong, 32, became the first Kenyan woman to win the Olympic marathon in Rio.

Sumgong is the second star Kenyan women’s marathoner to test positive for EPO.

Rita Jeptoo, a former Sumgong training partner, was stripped of Boston and Chicago Marathon titles for testing positive for EPO in 2014 and is banned until October 2018.

“We are clean athletes,” Sumgong said after winning the Rio Olympic marathon, according to Letsrun.com. “In Kenya we are clean. Maybe doping [is] here and there. We are very clean. We assure you we are clean. With the scandal of Rita I don’t know about it [the details]. … With the Kenyan athletes, we are sure we are clean. Myself I am sure I am clean. No doping scandal at all (with me).”

Sumgong previously tested positive for the banned substance prednisolone after finishing second at the 2012 Boston Marathon but was cleared on appeal by the IAAF as the injection she received was permitted under the governing body’s rules.

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Olympic 5000m champ sets marathon debut

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Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Cheruiyot, 32, is one of the most accomplished track runners in history. She swept the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2011 World Championships, then earned silver and bronze medals at London 2012 before giving birth to a boy in 2014.

The Kenyan returned to win the 2015 World 10,000m title and then the 5000m gold in Rio, upsetting Ethiopian Almaz Ayana, who had shattered the 10,000m world record earlier in the Games.

The London Marathon women’s field also includes defending champion and Rio Olympic gold medalist Jemima Sumgong of Kenya. Plus, three-time London winnder Mary Keitany, also of Kenya, and six-time Olympic track medalist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia.

The decorated London men’s field was previously announced.

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