Sumgong handed four-year ban
Kenya’s Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong was on Tuesday afternoon handed a four-year ban for using banned blood-booster EPO.
The ruling made by the Sports Disputes Tribunal(SDT), and announced by the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya(ADAK),stated: “It is undisputed that the athlete’s A sample revealed the presence of the prohibited substance EPO. With respect to the appropriate period of eligibility under Article 10.2 of the ADRV that, “the period of ineligibility of violation of article 2.1, 2.2, 2.6 shall be as follows, subject to potential reduction or suspension pursuant to Article 10.4,10.5 or 10.6.
“The Tribunal notes that the standard sanction for an ADRV involving a non specified substance is four years unless the athlete can establish that the Anti Doping Rules Violation (ADRV) was not intentional.”
Sumgong became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a marathon during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
The sample was taken on February 28, 2017 and has been on a provisional suspension since April 3, 2017.
The 32-year-old, who is also the reigning London Marathon champion, was provisionally banned from April 3 after failing an out of competition test conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) before the London Marathon on April 23.
“The IAAF can confirm that an anti-doping rule violation case concerning the athlete Jemima Jelagat Sumgong (Kenya) has commenced this week,” the world athletics body said then.
“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 IAAF will make no further statement about this case until its conclusion.”
Sumgong starred at the London Marathon last year, defying the odds to win despite suffering a bruising fall.
Steeled by her success in London, she then became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon gold, defeating Ethiopia’s world champion Mare Dibaba in Rio to confirm her status as the world’s top marathon runner of 2016.
Before claims of a positive drugs test emerged, Sumgong vowed to defend her London title on April 23.
But Tim Hadzima, general manager at Abbott World Marathon Majors, organiser of the world’s largest marathons including London, said the organisation was “distressed” by the reports, adding: “if true, they indicate that we are gaining ground in our long-standing fight against doping”.
At the Rio Olympics, Sumgong defied temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius (82F) to claim an historic gold medal in a race that finished at the city’s famed Sambodromo.
“I was never worried that I’d lose,” said Sumgong, who added that victory made up for a disappointing showing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “At the 40 kilometre mark I knew the gold was mine.”
Sumgong’s former training partner, the 2014 Chicago and Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, is serving a four-year ban after also testing positive for EPO.
However, in her defence, Sumgong responded to notice from IAAF stating that she had consulted an unnamed doctor at the Kenyatta National Hospital on Feb 23, 2017 for severe bleeding resulting from a previous night travel and that she was given a blood transfusion in addition to other unknown medication, information that she had not disclosed in the Doping Control Form, dated February, 2017.
She added that she did not disclose the information to her husband who is also her coach and manager or to any other person because of the taboo associated with her condition which was a result of an ectopic pregnancy, as such information could have made her be shunned within her community.
Sumgong stated that it was an unfortunate offence and unintended mistake adding that she did not request for sample analysis thus waiving her right to the same under IAAF Rule 37.5 and confirme dtaht the results would be same as those of sample A in any event.
Besides the ban, the John Ohaga led Tribunal ordered Sumgong to bear all the cost of the hearing.She however has a right of appeal under article 13.2.1 of the WADA Code, Rule 42 of the IAAF Competition Rules and Article 13 of ADR.