The Court of Arbitration for Sport has extended a doping ban on Kenyan marathoner Rita Jeptoo from two to four years. The ruling, which came on appeal, could spell the end of her running career.
The decision handed down by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday not only doubled Jeptoo's suspension, but it also declared all of her race results from April 2014 onward null and void, effectively stripping her of a number of wins, including the 2014 Boston marathon. The ruling also implies an order for her to forfeit any of the associated titles, medals, prize money and appearance money.
The ruling came as the result of an appeal by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in which it demanded that the court extend a two-year ban imposed by Athletics Kenyain January, 2015. The original ban came after she tested positive for EPO in a doping control carried out in September 2014, while she was training for the Chicago marathon.
The CAS said doubling the length of the original ban was justified because the panel had been "comfortably satisfied that there are aggravating circumstances" surrounding the case, and that Jeptoo had "used EPO as part of a scheme or plan."
Jeptoo's original ban had been set to expire this week and just days ago she had said she hoped to return to competition soon. The extended ban, which was backdated to October 2014, means she won't be eligible to return until 2018. Given her age, the extension could well mean the end of the 35-year-old's career as a marathoner.