Boston Marathon

2021 Boston Marathon Winner Faces Disqualification Over New Doping Charge

Diana Kipyokei was found to have taken a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide, according to the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit

The woman who won the 2021 Boston Marathon is set to have her victory rescinded after she was found to have taken a banned substance.

Diana Kipyokei of Kenya was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit and charged with violating athletics anti-doping rules at the world-famous marathon, which she won in 2:24:45. It was her major marathon debut, and she beat out 2017 winner Edna Kipligat by 23 seconds.

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"It's a great day," Kipyokei said after her victory.

Kipyokei was found to have taken a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide, according to the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit. She also allegedly gave investigators the wrong information.

Triamcinolone acetonide is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances, and the Boston Athletic Association said Friday it would disqualify Kipyokei, unless she won an appeal, because of the ruling.

The Boston Marathon made a triumphant return from a pandemic-enforced break — in the fall, for the first time — and it brought back some familiar and powerful emotions.

"The Boston Athletic Association supports strict anti-doping measures to ensure fair competition and clean sport," the marathon organizer said in a statement.

Read the Boston Athletic Association's full statement here:

The Boston Athletic Association has received the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) findings in regards to Diana Kipyokei. As a result of the AIU findings and in conformance with World Athletics and B.A.A. event rules, Kipyokei’s result in the 2021 Boston Marathon will be disqualified, pending the completion of relevant athlete appeals processes.

The Boston Athletic Association supports strict anti-doping measures to ensure fair competition and clean sport. Athletes in the professional divisions at the Boston Marathon are tested in accordance with the guidelines set forth by World Athletics, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The B.A.A. is committed to providing a fair environment for competition and supports all measures that ensure the integrity of the sport.

The B.A.A. will adjust race rankings and will provide prize award adjustments to top finishers of the 2021 event, pending the sanctioning.

Triamcinolone acetonide is a kind of glucocorticoid. While those substances are used therapeutically, some applications of them are banned in competitions over "clear evidence of systemic effects which could potentially enhance performance and be harmful to health," according to the Athletics Integrity Unit. Athletes found to have glucocorticoids in their system need to have gotten an exemption ahead of time.

Kipyokei provided the sample with the banned substance after the race on Oct. 11, 2021. The Athletics Integrity Unit didn't say how she allegedly tampered with the investigation.

But they did note that her suspension, and that of Betty Wilson Lempus on Friday, "part of a recent trend in Kenyan athletics regarding triamcinolone acetonide, with ten Kenyan athletes testing positive for that prohibited substance between 2021 and 2022." The agency noted that only two athletes from other countries have tested positive for the substance in the same time period.

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