The following note is from Nick Bitel, the Chief Executive of London Marathon events.This is the kind of statement that has to come from Mr. Bitel, and they are never easy. London Marathon, you must remember, required blood testing on elite marathoners from 2000. They were the first to begin the process of trying to clean up our sport in marathoning. Other marathon majors joined under the World Marathon Majors program. The top marathons have been working to put marathoners on an even playing field now for seventeen years. The out of competition testing now done and supported by the Abbott WMM, supports the IAAF testing in Kenya and other countries. Note that if you are an elite athlete in WMM, you are now getting out of competition testing.
While it is sad that Ms. Sumgong tested positive, it is proof that testing is working. Sad and sobering, but important to appreciate.
STATEMENT FROM NICK BITEL
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF LONDON MARATHON EVENTS LTD
“We are extremely disappointed to learn that Jemima Sumgong (Kenya) failed an out of competition drugs test in February. She is currently suspended from competition pending the B test and the outcome of the investigation.
“Sumgong will therefore not run in London on 23 April to defend the title she won last year. She is currently the leader in the Abbott World Marathon Majors (Abbott WMM) Series X standings which concludes in Boston on 17 April. Under Abbott WMM rules, if she were to finish top of the rankings at conclusion of the Series, an athlete who fails a drug test and is banned is not eligible to win the Series or to receive any prize money.
“We are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping. In addition to testing operated by the IAAF and national federations, the Abbott WMM has set up one of the largest private testing pool of athletes in sport, with the aim being to test 150 competitors out of competition a minimum of six times a year.
“Sumgong’s provisional positive test came from one of the Abbott WMM-funded out of competition tests.
“London Marathon Events Ltd and AbbottWMM will continue to do everything we can to ensure cheats are caught and do not benefit from cheating. The London Marathon has always been at the forefront of the fight against doping. The race has a zero tolerance policy towards doping and athletes who are banned for a doping offence are banned for life from the event and any other race organised by London Marathon Events Ltd.
“In addition, London Marathon Events will take legal proceedings against athletes who have been disqualified from its events for failed tests if they do not repay money that they have received from the event.”