Athletics-Kenyan Lempus gets five-year ban for doping violation

(Reuters) - Kenya's Betty Wilson Lempus has been handed a five-year ban for using the prohibited substance triamcinolone acetonide and tampering with doping control, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Thursday.

Lempus tested positive following her win at the Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris in September 2021.

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.

After Lempus provided medical documents to show that the administration was not through a prohibited route, further investigation by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) for the AIU showed the documents had been forged.

The 31-year-old and her compatriot Diana Kipyokei were provisionally suspended for using the banned substance in October last year.

Kipyokei was disqualified as the 2021 Boston Marathon women's winner in December, after being handed a six-year ban.

At the same time, Lempus was charged by the AIU, which oversees integrity issues in international athletics including doping.

"The AIU invited the athlete to respond to the charge confirming how she wished to proceed by no later than Jan. 2 2023," the AIU said in a statement.

"On Jan. 1 2023, the athlete wrote to the AIU admitting the anti-doping rule violations set out in the charge. On Jan. 4 2023, the AIU received an Admission of Anti-Doping Rule Violations and Acceptance of Consequences Form signed by the athlete."

Besides the ban, the athlete's competitive results from Sept. 5, 2021 will also be disqualified.

Kenya ranked third in the athletics medal haul at the Tokyo Olympics but has faced accusations of widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs for years.

The Kenyan government has pledged to commit $5 million a year over the next five years to aid anti-doping efforts, including more tests, investigations and improvements to anti-doping education.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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