2016 London Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong suspended for doping

Kenya's Jemima Sumgong, who took gold in the Rio 2016 women's marathon event and at last year's London Marathon, has failed an out of competition drugs test by the IAAF. Sumgong tested positive for banned substance EPO and is currently suspended pending the results of her B-test.

A statement by the IAAF read: "An anti-doping rule violation case concerning Jemima Sumgong (Kenya) has commenced this week.

"The athlete tested positive for EPO (Erythropoietin) following a no-notice test conducted by the IAAF in Kenya.

"This was part of an enhanced IAAF out-of-competition testing program dedicated to elite marathon runners which is supported by the Abbott World Marathon Majors group."

More than 40 Kenyan track and field athletes failed doping tests between 2011 and 2016. Kenya was on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of "non-compliant" countries by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but was removed prior to the Rio Olympics.

Sumgong was due to defend her title at London Marathon later this month. London Marathon's chief executive Nick Bitel has released a statement reading: 

“We are extremely disappointed to learn that Jemima Sumgong (Kenya) failed an out of competition drugs test in February. She is currently suspended from competition pending the B test and the outcome of the investigation.

“Sumgong will therefore not run in London on 23 April to defend the title she won last year. She is currently the leader in the Abbott World Marathon Majors (Abbott WMM) Series X standings which concludes in Boston on 17 April. Under Abbott WMM rules, if she were to finish top of the rankings at conclusion of the Series, an athlete who fails a drug test and is banned is not eligible to win the Series or to receive any prize money.

“We are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping. In addition to testing operated by the IAAF and national federations, the Abbott WMM has set up one of the largest private testing pool of athletes in sport, with the aim being to test 150 competitors out of competition a minimum of six times a year.

“Sumgong’s provisional positive test came from one of the Abbott WMM-funded out of competition tests.

“London Marathon Events Ltd and Abbott WMM will continue to do everything we can to ensure cheats are caught and do not benefit from cheating. The London Marathon has always been at the forefront of the fight against doping. The race has a zero tolerance policy towards doping and athletes who are banned for a doping offence are banned for life from the event and any other race organised by London Marathon Events Ltd.

“In addition, London Marathon Events will take legal proceedings against athletes who have been disqualified from its events for failed tests if they do not repay money that they have received from the event.”