From Inside the Games

Sofia Marathon winners Youssef Sbaai of Morocco and Viktoriia Khapilina of Ukraine have received provisional suspensions from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for doping violations.

Sbaai, who also claimed gold at the 2019 Sofia Marathon, triumphed again in this year’s men’s race on October 10. 

He set a course record of 2 hours 13mins 3secs in the Bulgarian capital.

The Moroccan then went on to win the Varna Marathon in Bulgaria on November 7, although his result was uncertified due to the race lacking an international measurement certificate.

Khapilina also managed a course record in the women’s race at the Sofia Marathon, winning in 2:27:57.

Both athletes tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in samples provided as part of an in-competition test. 

“The AIU has provisionally suspended Viktoriia Khapilina and Youssef Sbaai for the presence of recombinant EPO, in violation of World Athletics Anti-Doping rules following in-competition tests,” the AIU said.

World Athletics categorises the Sofia Marathon as a bronze label road race. 

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