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Jemima Sumgong, the reigning 2016 London Marathon champion and 2016 Rio Olympic Gold Medallist has tested positive in an out-of-competition drugs test for Erythropoietin.
Erythropoietin also known as EPO is an essential hormone for red blood cell production and is banned in competition.
Sumgong owns a personal best of 2:20:48 from Chicago 2013. She has also run as fast as 2:20:41 during the 2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon, which are currently the 45th and 53rd fastest marathon performances all-time.
In Rio, she finished first in the time of 2:24:04, while Bahraini Eunice Kirwa finished second in the time of 2:24:13. The bronze medallist was Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia. She crossed the line in the time of 2:24:30. The fourth-place finisher was fellow Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye, she is credited with the time of 2:24:47.
If the latter athletes do not test positive or have been already tested and are cleared, it is likely that they will move up a position and Sumgong will have her results expunged and banned for two years.
The sixth-place finisher, Shalane Flanagan, of the US finished less than one and a half minutes outside of first place in 2:25:26. She was recently announced by the International Association of Athletics Federations officially as the 10,000-metre silver medallist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics as she moved up from the bronze position because of Turkish athlete, Elvan Abeylegesse, tested positive for Stanazolol, an anabolic steroid.
A first-time ban typically results in a two-year ban.
In the London Marathon Sumgong finished ahead of Tufa Tigist of Ethiopia and fellow Kenyan Florence Kiplagat. They finished in the time of 2:23:03 and 2:23:39 respectively. Sumgong is credited with 2:22:58.
Sumgong was awarded $55,000 USD, while second earns $30,000 and third $22,000. The prizing goes 12 deep. It is highly doubtful that Tigist will be rewarded with the $25,000 difference as it goes for Kiplagat who in theory is owed $8,000.
Sumgong also earned a further $25,000 for breaking the 2:23:00 benchmark.
Sumgong finished second to drug cheat Rita Jeptoo during the 2013 Chicago Marathon. They finished in 2:19:57 and 2:20:48 respectively. The third place and fourth place finishers are Ethiopians Atsede Baysa and Ehitu Kiros in 2:26:42 and 2:27:42.
More to come in the outfall from this positive drug test.