Oct 14, 2022 - Sports

Boston Marathon winner could lose title over banned substance

Diana Kipyogei of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021.

Diana Kipyogei of Kenya crosses the finish line at the 125th Boston Marathon

Diana Kipyokei, who won the 2021 Boston Marathon, could lose her title after she was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit for allegedly using a banned substance.

The big picture: Kipyokei's suspension is tied to a steroid — triamcinolone acetonide — that is banned in competitive situations. But there are exemptions when it is used for therapeutic reasons.

Details: Investigators found that Kipyokei and Betty Wilson Lempus, who are both from Kenya, used the banned substance, according to the AIU. The two runners were charged after an investigation into their samples.

  • Kipyokei's sample was taken after winning the Boston Marathon in October 2021.
  • She could face a four-year ban and be stripped of her win, as well as her $150,000 prize money, ESPN reports.
  • Kipyokei will have a chance to appeal the decision, the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement.

What they're saying: "The BAA will adjust race rankings and will provide prize award adjustments to top finishers of the 2021 event, pending the sanctioning," the association said.

  • The BAA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Context: There have been cases of athletes using triamcinolone acetonide during competitions without facing bans because the steroid can be used for a variety of medical conditions.

  • Cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins, who became the first British man to win the Tour de France in 2021, used it through the exemption, per the Boston Globe. He was criticized for using the steroid, though.
  • Scottish cyclist David Millar wrote for the New York Times that he used the drug during competitions despite originally taking it for medical reasons.

Go deeper: Boston Marathon bans Russian, Belarusian residents from running races

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