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Olympic champion Sumgong handed four-year doping ban

Disgraced Kenyan marathoner Jemimah Sumgong has been handed a career-ending four-year ban by Anti Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) following an out-of-competition drug test failure reported early this year.

The 32-year-old distance runner, who became first Kenyan woman to win Olympic Marathon gold medal last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was hoping to be second-time lucky following her incredible respite from a 2012 doping ban but it was not to be as her innocence plea was rejected.

She will be allowed back to athletics in 2021, aged 36 and lacking competition sharpness not to mention that race organisers will not be willing to include her in their money spinning events.

Sumgong’s career is effectively over although her Olympic gold medal, now viewed with suspicion will not be affected. Sumgong was well on course for London Marathon title defence based on splendid form that saw her conquer the British capital’s 42k as well as Rio Olympic in 2016 but an out-of-competition test on February 28 detected presence of banned Erythropoietin (EPO) in her Urine sample, attracting the mandatory four-year ban.

Her participation in London was halted by the disgraceful test findings and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) runner was put on defence instead. In failing to request for analysis of her sample B, Sumgong waived her right to the same and was therefore deemed to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

She told anti-doping officers that she had consulted an unnamed doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) six days before she was tested following severe bleeding and she was given a blood transfusion in addition to unknown medication.

Sumgong notably failed to inform the doping control officers who collected her urine sample and her husband, as it saw a “taboo” in her community to talk about severe bleeding by a woman, a condition linked to ectopic pregnancy.

The athlete also furnished ADAK with treatment sheets allegedly issued at KNH in support of her assertion that she had undergone certain treatment at the facility. Her story, however, failed to hold water as records at the hospital only indicate consultation without any medical procedure.

The hospital said Sumgong’s treatment sheets were not authentic and ectopic pregnancy cases are managed in theatre. KNH also said the use of EPO injection was not a standard practice in the management of ectopic pregnancy at the hospital and there is no record of Sumgong receiving such injection at the facility for whatever ailment. Her inconsistent defence left the investigators with no option but to conclude that she was in violation of an anti-doping rule. Her ban was backdated to April 2017.

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