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Sierre Zinal women’s champion busted for doping

Despite a positive test in May 2022, Esther Chesang still competed and won Sierre Zinal in August due to a failure of communication by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya

Esther Chesang Photo by: Par Johann Conus W/C

On Saturday morning, the Sierre Zinal organizing committee released a statement regarding the provisional suspension of 2022 champion Esther Chesang of Kenya after she tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide (glucocorticoid) during an earlier competition.

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Chesang was tested upon arrival in Sierre-Zinal on Aug. 13, 2022. Her negative result from that date was confirmed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in October. 

Although Chesang tested negative at the race, she had a previous positive test in May 2022. Theoretically, Chesang shouldn’t have been allowed to run Sierre Zinal, but since the positive test in May was not publicly communicated by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), she received no sanctions and was cleared to run. 

The Sierre-Zinal committee stressed the lack of transparency by the ADAK in the interest of fighting the battle against doping. 

The final ranking of the 2022 women’s race has been suspended and is currently pending the outcome of ongoing disciplinary proceedings against Chesang. 

Chesang finished 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher Maude Mathys from Valais, Switzerland. Mathys is a three-time Sierre Zinal champion who will likely be awarded her fourth title once proceedings finalize.

2022 Sierre-Zinal champions: Kenya’s Mark Kangogo (left) and Esther Chesang (right). Photo: Sierre-Zinal/Facebook

The entire situation is unpleasant for Sierre Zinal, since they already had to disqualify the 2022 men’s winner Mark Kangogo of Kenya in October. The 33-year-old tested positive for norandrosterone (anabolic steroid) and triamcinolone acetonide (glucocorticoid) after a post-race test. The 2022 men’s title was awarded to Andreu Blanes of Spain.

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