The World record-holding Bahraini is embroiled in a drug-testing scandal.
Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion and world record-holder Ruth Jebet has tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), according to The Guardian.
Jebet, a Bahraini national following her denouncing of Kenyan citizenship in 2013 at the age of 16, represented her adopted oil-rich nation at the 2013 Arab Athletics Championships. She finished second behind Salimia El Ouali Alami of Morocco in the 3,000m steeplechase.
The British daily newspaper’s website reported that although the news has not yet been confirmed, a number of prominent sources have suggested Jebet has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, believed to be the blood booster EPO.
The Athletics Integrity Unit, which processes all doping tests in track and field, said it was unable to confirm the result of any tests under the World Anti-Doping code.
The 21-year-old is seen as one of athletics’ brightest stars having won a stunning gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics before shattering the world record while still a teenager.
Between 2011 and 2016, more than 40 Kenyan athletes failed doping tests, including Rita Jeptoo, the three?time Boston Marathon champion, who was given a four-year ban after testing positive for EPO in 2014.
Last year, Jeptoo’s former training partner, the Olympic and London Marathon winner Jemima Sumgong, was also banned for four years after her claim she was taking EPO for an ectopic pregnancy was rejected.
When Jebet took gold in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at Rio in 8:59:75 – at that point the second-fastest time in history – she was hailed as “Golden Ruth”, although she was greeted with boos in Kenya because she beat Hyvin Kiyeng into second.
Meanwhile, it was a below par performance for Kenyans at the IAAF World Indoor in Birmingham. Kenya won only one medal; a bronze through Bethwell Birgen in the men’s 3,000m final.
Results from the four-day global meeting in the UK are similar to those of Portland, US, two years ago. Kenya won two bronze medals through Augustin Choge (3,000m) and Margaret Nyairera (800m).
Jebet's agent, Marc Corstjens, said he was not aware of the news.
“I tried to reach Ruth but her phone is not answering. I have absolutely no official information.”