Marathons to fund new anti-doping programme

World Marathon Majors (WMM), which organises events in London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Berlin will fund the hiring of an extra investigator as well as an increase in resources to target the world’s best long-distance runners.

Doping scandals have riddled China's international sporting record in the past decade, with some athletes stripped of Olympic gold medals. (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

The organisers of the world’s six biggest marathons and the new international anti-doping body announced on Tuesday a new programme to finance the fight against the practice.

World Marathon Majors (WMM), which organises events in London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Berlin will fund the hiring of an extra investigator as well as an increase in resources to target the world’s best long-distance runners.

“This is a priority because the commercial success of road running,” said Brett Clothier, the head of the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) founded in 2017.

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“Road running in athletics is the most lucrative, they are the races offering the most prize money around the world and so therefore there is a high risk of doping.”

The sport has been marred in recent years by the suspensions of Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong and former Boston and Chicago winner Rita Jeptoo after they tested positive for blood booster EPO.

“It’s disappointing when you get issues such as Sumgong and Jeptoo and we have to do everything that we can to ensure there is integrity in the sport,” London marathon race director Hugh Brasher said.