Jemima Sumgong Jelegat has been wrongly accused of doping, (Copies of all forms provided), by Larry Eder

Jemima Sumgong, photo by

Jemima Sumgong recently took second at the TCS New York City Marathon. As a training partner of Rita Jeptoo, many took the route that there must be guilt by association. 

In fact, as I was preparing to ask Jemima a question after her second place to Mary Keitany in New York, a prominent coach whispered in my ear, "Why don't you ask her how her training partner is doing?", thinking he knew something or that, perhaps his thought was adding to the conversation. 

I am posting this story tonight because I believe that, just as diligently as we may speak out about drug cheaters, we must protect the athletes who are incorrectly treated as athletes who dope. 

I am providing pictures of all documents quoted and will provide copies to any news organization who requests them  (you will pay shipping) to see for yourself that not only was Jemima not a doper, but that this information had been out there for some time and some folks, relying on the so called veracity of social media, just quoted away. 

These are people's lives and reputations. 

Take a moment and consider what you would feel like if someone trashed your reputation? 

That is exactly what has happened to Jemima Sumgong. 
Thumbnail image for KeitanyLedsSumgong-NYC14.JPg
Sumgong and Keitany battle it out, 2 November 2014, 
photo by

Jemima Sumgong had an injury before the 2012 Boston Marathon, had it treated, reported the treatment in her drug testing forms, and yet, was wrongly given a sanction until the IAAF, incredulous to the AK response, requested that this sad episode be ended. In fact, the IAAF noted, (see notes below, page 14), Jemima Sumgong had NEVER violated any IAAF anti-doping rules. 

We have gone back, forensically, to show you, our readers, what actually happened. 

Here is how the time line in 2012 worked: 

Jemima Sumgong had a post competition drug test on April 16, 2012, after her second place in that historic race. 

Soon afterwards, the nightmare began for Jemima Sumgong, also known as Sumgong Jemima Jelegat. 

Per the IAAF, there was evidence of an adverse analytical finding on an A sample. That athlete was identified as Jemima Sumgong. 

It showed evidence of glucocorticosteroids, which Jemima Sumgong had reported as " three injections, 4/6/12 (one time) into hip on her Declaration form as all athletes are supposed to do. In fact, Sumgong had not violated any 2012 WADA rules, yet the system is, at some times, so nuanced, as to create confusion among many. 

On June 12, 2012, Athletics Kenya reported an adverse analytical finding to Jemima Sumgong requesting that Sumgong respond with her explananation and a decision on whether to have a B sample tested.. Jemima Sumgong responded to AK on 6/12/12, the same day as her letter.

On July 4, 2012, David Okayo of Athletics Kenya notified Sumgong of her suspension as the AK board had not accepted her explanation. 

At this same time, the letters shown below from her doctors and team on her treatment were provided to the IAAF Anti-doping group. Dr. Gabriel Dolle, after examining the information, came to a much different conclusion than Athletics Kenya. In fact, one would believe that there was some consternation with the AK board's response to Jemima Sumgong's letter or explanation (page 12 of 15 below).

On 21 August, 2012, Dr. Gabriel Dolle of IAAF Anti-doping sent a four paragraph letter to Athletics Kenya noting, and I quote " IAAF considers that there should NOT have been any sanction taken against the athlete. According to 2012 WADA protocol, glucocoricosteroids (including prednisolone) are not prohibited when administered locally. In addition, Ms Sumgong Jelegat declared the treatment on the doping form. In light of the above, we would respectfully ask you to revise your decision and immediately terminate the disciplinary procedure against Ms Sumgong Jelegat who cannot be regarded as having committed an anti-doping rule violation under IAAF Rules. "

In fighting cheaters, we must also be cognizant that mistakes are made in the process. Athletics Kenya was perhaps, over-diligent. The IAAF contacted Athletics Kenya to inform them of the IAAF's opinion and Athletics Kenya rescinded the decision. The case should have been closed, but, alas it was not. Several times over the weekend of the NYC marathon, Sumgong was referred to as a drug cheat by some who should have known better. 

That Athletics Kenya and IAAF worked together to insure that Jemima Sumgong was not given a violation is to be commended. It shows that the system, while not perfect, works. The price paid by Jemima Sumgong to her reputation is a pretty high price. 

The issue with the rumors that Sumgong was a) a doper, or b) because she trained with Rita Jeptoo, she had to be a doper has as much sense as the method used in the Inquisition of finding witches (almost always female). A women was put under water, weighted. If she floated up, she was a witch. If she did not float, up, she was not a witch. There was also the issue that she was probably dead. But, I have digressed.

I have copies of all forms quoted, and have posted them below. I photographed them with my IPhone. I also have paper copies. I am posting this on our FB site as I believe the word has to get out. I trust that the running community will pass this information around and give Jemima Sumgong the credit she deserves in her recent races. 

If we are to be diligent in chasing cheaters, we must also be diligent in protecting the reputations of athletes who have not cheated. 

I heard people repeating rumor in New York that Sumgong was guilty by association. That is really the wrong way to think about cheaters and the nature of cheating in any aspect of our lives, including drugs in sports. When people cheat in other parts of their lives, the people nearest to them are the last to know. Why would one believe it is any different in running? 

What I am most curious about is that several parties are aware of this sad state of affairs, yet no one came to Jemima Sumgong's defense? 

I find that situation the most troubling in this sad episode.

Doping Control Form, page 1

Letter, May 30, 2012, Susana Verdesca, IAAF to David Okaye, Athletics Kenya, page 2

Page 3, Analysis Record Report, 23 May 2012

Page 4, Cover letter of Istituto Clinico S. Anna regarding treatment for Jemimah Sumgong, 4 April 2012

Page 5, Ultrasound copies of Jemimah Sumgong's injuries


Page 6, In English, description of the Ecography of the Muscle Tendon


Page 7, From Dott. Lorenzo Benassa, hand written note from 5 April 2012, noting issue with Jemimah Sumgong and treatment with .5ml of depromedrol and lidocane. 

Page 8, Note from Dott. Lorzeno Benassa, now translated into English, signed and dated by Dott. Benassa. (Sorry, I shot it upside down). 


Page 9, USADA Doping control Official record for Jemima Sumgong, 16 April 2012


Page 10, This is form where Jemimah Sumgong notes her declarations. Note last one: "Injections into hip in Italy, 3 injections, 6 April 2012,  (one time)"


Page 11, Letter from Athletics Kenya, signed by David Okayo, dated June 12, 2012, to Dear Sumgong, asking that she " urgently provide your written explanation for the finding sample". (This is how the process is to work).


Page 12, Letter from Sumgong Jemima Jelegat, dated 12 June 2012, noting her explanation. (This is how the process is to work).


Page 13, Letter back from Athletics Kenya, noting that they were standing by the sanction. Dated 4 July 2012


Page 14, Letter from Dr. Gabriel Dolle, IAAF Anti-Doping Administrator, 21 August 2012, noting IAAF had reviewed information from Jemimah Sumgong, noting her declaration and that injection was administered locally, well within 2012 WADA Prohibited list guidelines, and requesting AK to rescind the sanctions. NOTE THAT SUMGONG WAS NOTED AS NOT HAVING COMMITTED ANTI DOPING RULE VIOLATION FROM IAAF.)


Page 15, for your reading pleasure, note S9. ON Glucocoriticosteroids.


Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required