20.05.2019 by

2016 Olympic Women’s Marathon Silver Medalist Banned for EPO

2016 Olympic Women’s Marathon Silver Medalist Banned for EPO

Eunice Kirwa is the second women’s Rio Olympics marathon medalist to test positive for EPO.

Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa, a Kenyan long-distance runner specializing in marathon running who currently represents Bahrain, has tested positive for the blood boosting drug erythropoieitin (EPO). Kirwa was been provisionally suspended pending her appeal.

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) will review the case prior to making an ultimate decision on her suspension and period of ineligibility. The EPO adverse analytical finding resulted from a recent out-of-competition drug test.

Kirwa won the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a time of 2:24:04. She also set the Bahraini women’s marathon record with a time of 2:21:17 at the 2017 Nagoya Women’s Marathon Kirwa will keep her Olympic medal and her national record since the EPO positive took place long after the races took place.

Eunice Kirwa and Jemima Sumgong have both tested positive for EPO since the 2016 Olympics.

Kirwa is the second 2016 Olympic women’s marathon medalist to test positive for EPO. Gold medalist Jemima Sumgong also tested positive for EPO in the year following the 2016 Olympics.

Sumgong was originally suspended for 4 years. Her period of ineligibility was extended to eight years after she was found guilty of falsifying medical records.

The eight year suspension could potentially put an end to Sumgong’s competitive marathon career. She will be 34 years old when she will be allowed to return to competition. Nonetheless, Sumgong gets to keep her Olympic gold medal – at least for the moment.

There is a good possibility that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide to reanalyze stored urine samples belonging to Kirwa and Sumgong from the 2016 Rio Olympics. If the IOC is able to find any traces of a prohibited substance, the two women will be retroactively disqualified and stripped of their medals.

  • Nyabuto, C. (May 22, 2019). Olympic marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa provisionally suspended for EPO doping. Retrieved from

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