Women's Olympic marathon champion banned for doping

The Kenyan woman who won the marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics has been handed a four-year ban for using a blood-boosting hormone.

Officials delivered the penalty after rejecting Jemima Sumgong’s explanation that she had been given the performance-enhancing drug, EPO, during a hospital visit for an ectopic pregnancy.

Calling her story “inconsistent at best,” the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya noted: “Indeed, we might go so far as to state that the athlete’s attempt to explain how the substance entered her body bordered on an attempt to deceive the panel.”

The 32-year-old, who tested positive in February, will be ineligible for the 2019 world championships and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Sumgong — a former winner of the London Marathon and runner-up in Boston, Chicago and New York — is the latest Kenyan athlete to face doping charges. Another female marathon runner, Rita Jeptoo, also was banned for EPO use.

In 2016, she was the first Kenyan to win a women’s Olympic marathon.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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