Olympic steeplechase champion Jebet banned for doping

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              FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, Bahrain's Ruth Jebet shows off her gold medal during the ceremony for the women's 3000-meter steeplechase final at the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Olympic champion Jebet, the Kenya-born athlete who competes for Bahrain, has been banned four years for doping. She tested positive for the stamina-boosting drug EPO in a sample she gave in Dec. 2017. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, file)
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MONACO (AP) — Olympic steeplechase champion Ruth Jebet was banned four years for doping on Wednesday.

The Kenya-born Jebet, who competes for Bahrain, tested positive for the stamina-boosting drug EPO in a sample she gave in December 2017. She won the Olympic gold medal in 2016 and was the world record holder at the time she tested positive.

The verdict follows a lengthy legal battle that was partially delayed because Bahrain’s track federation stopped funding Jebet’s defense.

A disciplinary panel said Jebet offered contradictory explanations of how the EPO entered her system.

The verdict says she claimed she was injected by a person “variously described by her as her husband or boyfriend” and that she said on different occasions that she had thought the substance was either vitamins or painkillers.

She also suggested that her former physiotherapist had misled her about the substance, though the panel found her allegations against him “somewhat bizarre” and “pregnant with unresolved questions.”

Jebet’s ban is dated from Feb. 2018. It doesn’t affect her gold medal from the 2016 Olympics because she won that before testing positive.

Jebet can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.