2021 World Champion steeplechase runner Norah Jeruto's doping suspension has been overturned after arguments that ulcers and Covid-19 could explain her unusual blood test results.
No banned substance was found in Jeruto's system, however experts from the Athletics Integrity Unit argued that her samples indicated an illicit "transfusion strategy," by which some athletes have their own blood extracted, processed, and transfused back into their bodies to seek an advantage. Jeruto said that she suffers from ulcers and an expert testifying on her behalf argued that resultant internal bleeding could explain why some of her samples indicated blood loss.
The AIU also argued that some of Jeruto's samples indicated use of banned substance EPO, which increases production of red blood cells. The athlete's defense argued that a Covid-19 infection could also explain the same irregularities, and the disciplinary tribunal conceded that "[there was] sufficient doubt on this part of the case that it would be unfair to convict [Jeruto]."
The doping charge prevented Kenyan-born Jeruto, who competes for Kazakhstan, from participating in this year's World Athletics Championships, but she is now cleared to compete in the Paris Olympics.
The AIU stated they "will review the decision before deciding whether to appeal" to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.