Kenya's Sarah Chepchirchir arrived at the Tokyo Marathon in 2017. GETTY IMAGES

Kenyan athlete Sarah Chepchirchir, winner of the 2017 Tokyo Marathon, has been banned for eight years after testing positive for testosterone. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the ban on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old tested positive after the Chonburi Marathon in Thailand in November 2023. She finished second with a time of 2:35:43. Traces of exogenous testosterone were found in the urine sample. Sarah Chepchirchir had previously been suspended for four years, from 6 of February 2019 to 5 February 2023, due to anomalies in her biological passport, the AIU recalled.

The new sanction began on 22 December and will end on 21 December 2031. At the age of 39, this clearly means that her career has ended. Chepchirchir, who won the Tokyo Marathon in 2017, had the option of reducing the ban by one year by formally admitting the charge. However, she failed to do so by the 11 February deadline.

"The AIU confirms by this decision the following Consequences for the Athlete's second Anti-Doping Rule Violation: a period of Ineligibility of eight (8) years commencing on 22 December 2023 until 21 December 2031.

"The disqualification of the Athlete's results on and since 5 November 2023, with all resulting Consequences, including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money.

"The Athlete is deemed to have accepted the above Consequences and to have waived her right to have those Consequences determined by the Disciplinary Tribunal at a hearing."

Nearly 100 Kenyan athletes, mainly long-distance runners, have now been banned over the past five years.