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Kenya has suffered yet another doping ban by one of its athletes in Betty Wilson Lempus. The marathon runner tested positive in September 2022 for triamcinolone acetonide.
Lempus was first charged with tampering or attempted tampering with part of the doping control process, including obstructing or delaying the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) investigation through the provision of false information or documentation.
The AIU has banned Betty Lempus (Kenya) for 5 years from 14 October 2022 for the presence of a Prohibited Substance (Triamcinolone Acetonide) and for Tampering with any part of Doping Control by an Athlete.— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) January 26, 2023
DQ results from 5 September 2021.
Details here: https://t.co/KAz1DL3Ms4 pic.twitter.com/I4iRdl9RnL
The AIU with assistance from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) uncovered the fact that Lempus produced falsified medical documents to explain an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the presence of triamcinolone acetonide in her urine sample.
Lempus provided the in-competition sample on September, 5 2021 after she won the Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris in a new personal best time.
According to the AIU’s press statement: Initially, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) cleared her of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) upon receipt of four medical documents supporting Lempus’ explanation that she received an injection of triamcinolone acetonide on August 20, 2021, while being treated at a Kenyan hospital. However, in June 2022, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent refuted Lempus’ claim in writing, stating that though she attended the hospital Lempus never received “an intramuscular injection of triamcinolone acetonide at the hospital on this date”. The official also cited other discrepancies, including false hospital documents (including address and phone number) and that the doctor, whom Lempus claimed attended to her, is not employed at the hospital. Confronted by the AIU with this evidence in October 2022, Lempus admitted to tampering.
“This is the right and fair outcome, and it’s a signal to all that the AIU takes its mission extremely seriously and will pursue every angle in seeking to reach the truth.”
The five-year ban will essentially end her competitive athletics career.
Lempus has run the marathon as fast as 2:23:40 in 2018 in Shanghai, China. Her best over the half-marathon distance is 1:05:46. According to her profile at World Athletics, she was running the half-marathon distance regularly between 1:09:25 and 1:12:26, however, in 2021 dropped her best time by nearly four minutes.
Kenya is experiencing a severe doping problem and has experienced the most doping bans of any country over the past few years, 2022 was the worst all-time. Only Russia with its alleged state-run or systematic doping program has experienced more bans, as the entire country is prevented from competing internationally.
Athletics Kenya narrowly avoided a similar fate to Russia in December.