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2017 Tokyo Marathon champion receives 8-year doping ban

Sarah Chepchirchir of Kenya, who did not defend herself or respond to the charges, will be ineligible to compete until December 2031

Sarah Chepchirchir Photo by: W/C

On Nov. 5, 2023, Sarah Chepchirchir of Kenya finished second at the Bangsaen 42 Chonburi Marathon in Thailand. The event represented her return to racing after serving a four-year ban for biological passport irregularities. But Chepchirchir did not get to savour the moment for long; on Dec. 22, she was provisionally suspended for the presence of metabolites of testosterone in her urine at the race in Thailand, and on Tuesday, she was handed an eight-year ban (effective Dec. 22, 2023 to Dec. 21, 2031) and her result from Nov. 5 was disqualified.

Chepchirchir won the Tokyo Marathon in 2017, with a time of 2:19:47 (her personal best and a course record at the time). She won the Lisbon Marathon in 2016, in 2:24:13. Previously, she had several wins and podium finishes at half-marathons in Europe and elsewhere.

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It is likely the end of a career for the athlete, who is 39. According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) report, Chepchirchir was given the opportunity to defend herself against the allegations, to request that her B sample be tested and to receive a one-year reduction in her suspension by admitting to the violation, but she did not respond in any way. This, according to AIU rules, constitutes an admission of guilt. Because it was her second offense, she received an automatic ban of eight years.

The earlier ban was from Feb. 6, 2019 to Feb. 5, 2023.

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