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Sierre-Zinal champion receives three-year doping ban

Mark Kangogo of Kenya has had his Sierre-Zinal title revoked after testing positive for two prohibited substances

mark kangogo Photo by: AlexFPV Photography

The trail running community has been rocked after the winner of Sierre-Zinal, a mountain race in the Swiss Alps, was slapped with a three-year ban for two prohibited substances (norandrosterone and triamcinolone acetonide). The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has disqualified all of the results from Mark Kangogo of Kenya, dating to Aug. 13 (the date of the race) and Sierre-Zinal has decided to ultimately disqualify Kangogo.

The winners of 2022 Sierre-Zinal Kenya’s Mark Kangogo (left) and Esther Chesang (right)

In the past two months, Kangogo has collected victories at Sierre-Zinal and the Jungfrau Marathon, plus finished second at Thyon-Dixense, a 16.35 km trail race also in Switzerland.

The athlete provided an in-competition urine sample at the Sierre-Zinal, World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup race. The sample reported the presence of norandrosterone and triamcinolone acetonide.

Norandrosterone (19-NA) is the principal metabolite of the anabolic steroid nandrolone, which is used to aid recovery from injuries and increase muscle size, strength and power to help them train harder and longer. Triamcinolone acetonide is a steroid to aid muscle recovery and inflammation.

According to his coach, Julien Lyon, Kangogo has been removed from the On-sponsored Milimani Runners team. This team is a project from On that aims to bring trail running culture closer to athletes in Kenya.

Lyon released a statement that Kangogo will be excluded from the team. “There is no excuse and no possible explanation for doping,” says Lyon. “It will take time for us to heal the painful feeling of being betrayed by a training partner, but we will continue to train with the same motivation and determination.”

Sierre-Zinal released a statement Thursday on the disqualification of Kangogo and including a change in the final men’s results of the 2022 edition: “Andreu Blanes (ESP) has officially become the winner of Sierre-Zinal 2022. He won the race in a time of 2:29:19.”

The race also expressed zero tolerance for doping.

As part of the Golden Trail World Series, Sierre-Zinal has implemented the Quartz anti-doping program to preserve the health and fairness of all athletes.

Photo: Jordi Saragossa

Blanes, who came second to Kangogo, and Kilian Jornet, who finished fifth, both took to social media to comment on the issue.

Kangogo, 31, acknowledged the offence, accepted a sanction and waived his right of appeal. His three-year ban will expire on Aug. 13, 2025.

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