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Women’s Olympic marathon champion banned for doping

Kenya's Jemima Sumgong raises her arms in victory as she crosses the finish line of the women's marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong raises her arms in victory as she crosses the finish line of the women’s marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
(Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images)

The Kenyan woman who won the marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics has been handed a four-year ban for using a blood-boosting hormone.

Officials delivered the penalty after rejecting Jemima Sumgong’s explanation that she had been given the performance-enhancing drug, EPO, during a hospital visit for an ectopic pregnancy.

Calling her story “inconsistent at best,” the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya noted: “Indeed, we might go so far as to state that the athlete’s attempt to explain how the substance entered her body bordered on an attempt to deceive the panel.”

The 32-year-old, who tested positive in February, will be ineligible for the 2019 world championships and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Sumgong — a former winner of the London Marathon and runner-up in Boston, Chicago and New York — is the latest Kenyan athlete to face doping charges. Another female marathon runner, Rita Jeptoo, also was banned for EPO use.

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In 2016, she was the first Kenyan to win a women’s Olympic marathon.

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter


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