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Athletes whose careers went downhill after doping

Recently, there has been an outcry for something to be done about the doping menace that is threatening to rob Kenya of her track prowess with athletes getting sensitised on the dangers of the vice. Repercussions of doping are tough and some athletes have lost their careers as a consequence. Here are some of the big names as compiled by Lynette Matheka.

1. Jemimah Sumgong    (Kenya)

At the age of 31, Sumgong became the first Kenyan female winner of the Olympic marathon in 2016. Before then, she had won London, Rotterdam, Las Vegas and finished runners up at Boston and New York Marathons.

She was to defend her title at the 2017 London Marathon but two weeks prior to the race, she was suspended after testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO) and banned for four years. This was her second doping ban in five years after she tested positive in 2012.

2. Rita Jeptoo (Kenya)

The decorated Kenyan marathoner’s wins span from 2004 when she won the Stockholm and Milan marathons. She won in Paris and Lisbon as well as twice in Chicago and thrice in Boston but tested positive for recombinant EPO (rEPO) in a sample given prior to winning the 2014 Chicago marathon and was disqualified from that race and also stripped of her Boston title. She was given a two-year ban by Athletics Kenya which was extended to four after an appeal from IAAF.

3. Mathew Kisorio (Kenya)

The 28-year-old is a former African junior champion in 5,000m and 10,000m and had won the Philadelphia, Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon and Stramilano races before testing positive for steroids at the 2012 Kenyan Athletics Championships.

He admitted to drug use, claiming medical staff had aided him and was subsequently banned for two years. Although he has since returned to running and even won a couple of local races, he struggles to get invitations for major city marathons due to his ‘drug cheat’ tag.

4. Lance Armstrong (United States)

Amstrong was the undisputed cycling king having won a record seven straight Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005. But in 2012, US Anti-Doping Agency released more than 1,000 pages evidence in doping allegations against Armstrong and his team-mates. He was banned from sanctioned Olympic sports for life as a result and lost all his titles including every sponsorship deal he had.

5. Diego Maradona (Argentina)

One of the greatest players of all time. The Argentine played for various clubs including Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Sevilla and Napoli while representing Argentina whom he led to victory in the 1986 World Cup. Despite his success, Maradona has had several drug problems.

A long running addiction to cocaine affected his career starting in the late 80s, eventually leading to a 15-month suspension in 1991 and at the 1994 World Cup, he was sent home after failing drug tests. He would retire in 1997 aged 37 after failing yet another drug test.

6. Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne (England)

The former Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Everton midfielder was considered one of the best of his generation but first entered therapy sessions in October 1998 when he was admitted to hospital after a drinking session where he drank 32 shots of whisky that left him unconscious.

He was released, at his own insistence, two weeks into the suggested minimum stay of 28 days. His subsequent visits to the hospital became more infrequent, and he eventually returned to drinking alcohol and has battled alcohol addiction to date.

7. Adrian Mutu (Romania)

Mutu was sacked by Chelsea in September 2004 after testing positive for cocaine. The Romania striker received a seven-month ban from football, but the London club took a firm stance and sacked him before then suing him to recover the money they paid to sign him. He rebuilt his career first at Juventus and then at Fiorentina where he failed another drug test in 2010 and banned for nine months.

8. Alex Rodriquez (USA)

One of the highest paid baseball shortstop and third baseman, Rodriguez tested positive for testosterone and the nabolic steroid Primobolan in 2003.

This came to the public in 2009 after his name was on a government-sealed list of 104 major-league players (out of 1,200 tested) who came up positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He denied at first but admitted two days later.

He was given a 211-game suspension, which would last for the rest of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season but the suspension was reduced and he returned to playing. However, his standing in the game changed for the worse.

9. Mariya Savinova (Russia)

A former 800m specialist, Savinova came to the limelight during the 2008 European Athletics Indoor Championships where she clinched gold over the distance

. She won the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and five other accolades before she was found guilty of doping in 2014 and was suspended from competition for four years.

In 2017, the court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a four-year ban and had three years of results from July 2010 to August 2013 nullified including an Olympic gold medal.

10. Marion Jones (USA)

Jones once had the world at her feet and was regarded as one of the most athletic females the world has ever seen. She had a career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the United States as well as winning 17 Olympic medals.

She was, however, stripped of nine of those medals due to her involvement in the BALCO performance enhancing drug investigation. Initially, she denied any involvement but later admitted using steroids, which she previously lied about under oath to federal agents.

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