Kenyan runner Diana Kipyokei tested positive after winning the Boston Marathon in 2021

Paris (AFP) - Last year’s Boston marathon winner Diana Chemtai Kipyokei and her Kenyan teammate Betty Wilson Lempus have been provisionally suspended over anti-doping rule violations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced Friday.

The two athletes are accused of tampering with evidence, “including obstructing or delaying the AIU’s investigation through the provision of false information or documentation”.

The pair tested positive in 2021 for triamcinolone, a substance still allowed in some forms that year before being subject to a total ban in January.

Kipyokei, 28, had tested positive after winning the 2021 Boston marathon while Lempus, 31, was initially cleared by French anti-doping authorities after winning the 2021 Paris half-marathon before the AIU conducted a further investigation into the explanation offered by the runner.

THe two suspensions come just three days after that of trail runner and compatriot Mark Kangogo, winner of the Sierre-Zinal in August and also returning a positive test for triamcinolone.

Kipyokei and Lempus are the 22nd and 23rd Kenyan athletes suspended in 2022.

Kenya has since 2016 been listed as a category A country by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“The cases announced today are part of a recent trend in Kenyan athletics regarding triamcinolone acetonide, with 10 Kenyan athletes testing positive for that prohibited substance between 2021 and 2022,” the AIU said.

“Within the same time period in athletics globally, there have been just two positive triamcinolone acetonide AAFs (Adverse Analytical Findings) for athletes from all other countries. In the four years from 2017 to 2020, there were only three Kenyan AAFs for triamcinolone acetonide.”