Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong has been handed a four-year doping ban after testing positive for the banned substance EPO [erythropoietin].
News of the Kenyan’s failed test was reported earlier this year and on Tuesday (November 7) the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya announced her sanction.
Sumgong’s ban runs from April 3, 2017 – the date of her provisional suspension – following the failed out-of-competition drugs test which had been taken on February 28.
That prevented the 32-year-old, who won the Virgin Money London Marathon last year as well as claiming Olympic marathon gold in Rio, from defending her London Marathon title.
Last August Sumgong had become the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon, while she had won her London Marathon title despite a heavy fall.
According to the decision document published by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, Sumgong said her failed test was a result of treatment received at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya on February 22 for an ectopic pregnancy. However, the decision document continued to state that the hospital denied that the athlete had been treated at that facility on or prior to that date, but confirmed a subsequent consultative visit.
A letter from the hospital “asserts quite emphatically that the medical sheets provided by the athlete were not authentic”, the decision document read in part.
It added that Sumgong said she did not disclose the treatment on her doping control form or tell anyone, including her husband who is also her coach, because of the “taboo” associated with her condition.
In April the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) released a statement which read in part: “The athlete tested positive for EPO following a no-notice test conducted by the IAAF in Kenya. This was part of an enhanced IAAF out-of-competition testing programme dedicated to elite marathon runners which is supported by the Abbott World Marathon Majors group.”
The Abbott World Marathon Majors series consists of six marathons across the world, including the London Marathon.