Olympic marathon champion fails drugs test: Reports
Jemima Sumgong, the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon gold when she triumphed at Rio in 2016, has failed an out-of-competition dope test, reports claimed on Friday.
The 32-year-old, who is also the reigning London Marathon champion, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO in a test by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in her native Kenya, the BBC reported.
"We can confirm that an anti-doping rule violation case concerning Jemima Sumgong has commenced this week," www.bbc.com quoted the IAAF as saying in a statement.
"The athlete tested positive for EPO following a no-notice test in Kenya."
The IAAF did not respond when asked by AFP for confirmation of the report early Friday. Sumgong starred at the London Marathon last year, defying the odds to win despite suffering a bruising fall.
Steeled by her success in London, she then became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon gold in Rio.
Sumgong defeated Ethiopia's world champion Mare Dibaba to confirm her status as the world's number one marathon runner of the year.
Before claims of a positive drugs test emerged, Sumgong said she was looking forward to returning to London to defend her title on April 23.
"London is the marathon every runner wants to win," she said. "I can't wait to return to defend my title."
Tim Hadzima, general manager at Abbott World Marathon Majors, organiser of the world's largest marathons including London, said the organisation was "distressed" by the reports, but said that "if true, they indicate that we are gaining ground in our long-standing fight against doping". At the Rio Olympics, Sumgong defied temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius (82F) to claim an historic gold medal in a race which finished at the city's famed Sambodromo.