The reigning Chicago and Boston Marathon champion will be eligible to compete again on Oct. 30, 2016.
After the confirmation of a positive “B” sample test for the performance-enhancing drug EPO in December, Athletics Kenya has suspended two-time reigning Chicago and Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo for two years, retroactive to Oct. 30, 2014, according to a report this morning by Reuters.
“AK followed due process in her (Rita Jeptoo) matter and it was appropriate that she serves a two-year ban,” AK chief executive Isaac Kamande told the news service.
Jeptoo, whose positive “A” sample test was reported on Oct. 31, asked to have her “B” sample tested, but that result also came back positive. The 33-year-old marathoner, who won the Chicago Marathon for the second straight year last October after annihilating the Boston Marathon course record in April, has not spoken with reporters since the announcement of her failed tests.
Federico Rosa, Jeptoo’s agent who has denied any involvement in his athlete’s cheating, has followed through on his promise to institute regular blood testing for all his Kenyan athletes, according to a report earlier this week by The Daily Nation. As of Monday, the blood-testing machine was being cleared at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s customs department.
“All my athletes are close to us and stand with us and are very upset for the situation,” Rosa told Competitor.com shortly after Jeptoo’s failed “A” sample was announced. “I will try to make maybe a monthly blood test, very simple with three parameters so you see the valuation of the blood and on our side publish [the results] so anybody can see and this can help to control. And the main thing is to do a laboratory in Eldoret where you can do a blood test out of competition because that is going to really stop the athletes to do this anymore because they don’t want there to be an issue.”
Two weeks ago, it was announced that the World Marathon Majors—a six race series of major marathons, which includes Boston and Chicago and has an annual $500,000 first-place prize for the men’s and women’s winner—have pledged support for a new anti-doping agency in East Africa, where on-site testing has been virtually non-existent. Jeptoo, who won the 2013-2014 series, was slated to accept her award at the New York Marathon weekend in November before reports of her positive “A” sample test surfaced.
On Tuesday, it was announced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that eight more Kenyan athletes has been found guilty of various doping violations—none of them were said to be associated with Rosa—and would face suspension.