Diana Kipyokei could be stripped of her victory at the 2021 Boston Marathon after she was provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit for using a banned substance that was found in a test taken after her win.
Kipyokei and Kenyan compatriot Betty Wilson Lempus were found to have used the banned substance triamcinolone acetonide, the AIU said Friday. Both runners have also been charged with obstructing the AIU's investigation by providing false information or documentation.
"After extensive investigations, the AIU has provisionally suspended two Kenyan marathoners -- Diana Kipyokei and Betty Wilson Lempus -- and charged them with various breaches of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules," the AIU said via a statement. "These alleged anti-doping rule violations stem from probes into the information provided by the athletes to explain Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) for metabolites of triamcinolone acetonide in samples."
Kipyokei's sample was taken after her victory in Boston last October. The 28-year-old had won Boston, held in the fall for the first time in its 125-year history because of the coronavirus pandemic, by 23 seconds over 2017 winner Edna Kiplagat.
Kipyokei faces being banned for at least four years and stripped of her Boston win and $150,000 prize money.
"Kipyokei's result in the 2021 Boston Marathon will be disqualified, pending the completion of relevant athlete appeals processes," race organizer the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement. "The BAA will adjust race rankings and will provide prize award adjustments to top finishers of the 2021 event, pending the sanctioning."
Triamcinolone acetonide, a substance prohibited in competition when administered in certain ways, falls under the banned category of glucocorticoids, commonly used as therapeutic substances in sports. Their use is permitted if athletes can produce an exemption or proof that administration is not through a prohibited route.
Lempus, 31, was tested after her win at the Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris in September 2021. She is also suspected of tampering, which could be related to a therapeutic use exemption document athletes need to have before using a medication that is otherwise prohibited.
The latest suspensions mean that 10 Kenyan athletes have tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide since 2011. Only two athletes from outside Kenya have returned positive tests for the substance during the same period.
On Thursday, the AIU banned Kenyan marathoner Mark Kangogo for three years for the use for norandrosterone and triamcinolone acetonide.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.