The 2016 Olympic marathon champion lied and said she was treated at a Kenyan hospital for an ectopic pregnancy.

By Chris Chavez
November 07, 2017

2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong has been handed a four-year ban by Kenya's anti-doping agency after testing positive for EPO.

Sumgong claimed that the blood-boosting performance enhancer was found in an out-of-competition test because she was treated at a hospital for an ectopic pregnancy with a blood transfusion and given unidentified medication by an unnamed doctor.

Sumgong, 32, was unable to provide the name of the doctor or any evidence that she was admitted to the hospital. The panel on her hearing determined that her story was "inconsistent at best." Kenyatta National Hospital pointed out that the documentation that she presented was not authentic. She argued that the doctor that treated her may have been an imposter due to a doctor's strike that was happening at the time. She did not disclose any treatment six days before being drug tested. 

In Rio de Janeiro, Sumgong became the first Kenyan woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic marathon. Her positive test was announced in February and provisionally suspended in April. The official suspension from AKAD makes her ineligible to compete at the 2019 world championships and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Sumgong decided to waive her right to have her B sample tested and owned up to her unfortunate offense and unintended mistake. 

Sumgong is the highest-profile Kenyan to be caught doping since Rita Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in 2014 and was stripped of her Boston and Chicago Marathon titles. Jeptoo and Sumgong used to train together.

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