ESTHER CHESANG: SIERRE-ZINAL 2022 WOMEN’S WINNER, SUSPENDED FOR DOPING. Our TRAIL RUNNING sections bring us the sad news just published by the official organization of the Swiss race Sierre Zinal.

The Sierre Zinal 2022 winner, Esther Chesang , have tested positive for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The final women’s ranking for the 2022 edition is therefore suspended, pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

Sierre Zinal 2022, Esther Chesang. Photo: Mayayo


The runner Esther Chepsang landed in the trail scene with lots of energy this year thanks to the support of the Skyrunners Kenya team, led by Octavio Pérez. Thus, we could see her with great success running and winning in races like the Swiss Sierre Zinal in August, ahead of Maude Mathys and Kisng; as well as the Pirineu Marathon in October, ahead of Nuria Gil and Emelie Forsberg.

Doping Trail Running: Esther Chesang, winner Marato Pirineu 2022. Photo Uri Sala.


The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya has published the sanction on its official website, among a long list of 20 names that includes fifteen athletes as well as bodybuilders (3), a soccer player and a judo athlete. Among the names of athletes, in addition to Esther Chesang, we can mention Vincent Kiplangat, Matthew Kiplangat.

As you can see in the image below, the provisional suspension date for Esther starts on MAY 11, 2022, so since it has not been made public until now, it remains to be seen: if the sanction is firm and not provisional; if so, how many months of sanction and the specific cause; additional measures.


The first and most important additional sanction if the positive in doping trail running is confirmed would be to strip her of both golds, as already happened with  Mark Kangogo, also at Sierre-Zinal 2022,  in favor of Andreu Blanes. In Esther’s case, unfortunately, the prize money has already been paid to her, so the role of her Skyrunners Kenya team in repaying each organization would be very interesting to see.


The following official statement has arrived to our web partner  in Spanish, sent by Octavio Paz, responsible of Skyrunners Keny and Esther (today) ex-coach. The below statement is our translated version, you can read the official-original statement in Spanish, here.

Statement on the provisional positive of Esther Chesang.

I will now explain as briefly as possible the events that have occurred since the incorporation of Esther Chesang to Sky Runners Kenya to this day, and the reason for Esther’s expulsion Chesang of the team on October 14, 2022:

  • End of June 2022 Esther joins the team recommended by her husband Mathew
  • August 13th, Sierre Zinal wins.
  • October 6th I receive a call from Sierre Zinal informing me unofficially of
    that Esther had tested negative in the anti-doping control after the race, but that since the
    world anti-doping agency (AIU) inform them that she had competed with a sanction of
    doping, due to previous events, by corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory allowed in training
    but not in competition) and that in the next few it would be published.
  • At that time Esther did not appear on the agency’s provisional or final list World Anti-Doping World Cup (AIU), nor in the Kenyan agency. I wasn’t even aware of anything.
  • On that same date, the Kenyan athletics federation selects her to compete in the World Cup in Thailand, therefore, it is assumed that the federation did not know anything either.
  • When talking to Esther, she explains that she tests positive in February in a marathon in Kenya but
    She resolves it with the Kenyan federation and they allow her to compete since she was injured and
    that his doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory. According to Esther, she tells us nothing when she joins
    to the team because it was a closed case.
  • We ask her for the federation document but she does not send it to us and gives us different
    contradictory versions that makes us completely lose confidence in it.
  • October 11th still does not appear on any official list, and from Sierre Zinal I
    communicate that for the moment they leave Esther as the winner to wait for the world agency
    to clarify what happened. And they ask me not to post anything about it.
  • During those days I report everything that was happening to the sponsors of the team and
    people who have supported the project.
  • October 14th, I sent the statement to Esther of expulsion from the team and in which I ceased my
    coaching services.
  • October 27th, Esther still does not appear on any official list, the world agency continues
    without clarifying anything and from Sierre Zinal they tell me that since they no longer have any more elements
    new ones leave her as the winner and they are going to give her her cash prize.


As you can see in the blows statement published by our Spanish Editor, Sergio Mayayo, the Sierre-Zinal organization have already made an statement about the situation.

For the big Swiss race, this is the second blow after the disqualification of Mark Kangogo. From CARRERASDEMONTANA, our web partner, our Chief Editor has contacted (today) the organization of Sierre Zinal, and they confirmed the following exclusively for the us:

From Sierre Zinal we confirm that we have received the documentation on this suspension. On behalf of our organization, it only remains to remember that in our race WADA control was applied to him at the finish line, as well as to Mark Kangogo. However, Esther tested negative in said control, so no measure was applied to her.

Sierre Zinal’s organization takes note of this provisional suspension and will take the pertinent measures as soon as it is confirmed, in accordance with the Athletes for Integrity guidelines.


First of all, remember that it is a PROVISIONAL sanction. It is important to provide the athlete with maximum guarantees when taking samples and processing them. Therefore, since there is a world agency that fights against doping such as WADA, I think it makes no sense to create some private methods that can only create confusion.

WADA is not perfect, but at the moment it is the best we have. In fact, at the finish line control that, as in the WMRA World Cup event, like Canfranc it was mandatory to pass, no substances were detected for Esther. It may be that her body has already processed and eliminated them, the previous control may have been a mistake.

Although setting up a WADA control can cost the organization between €2,000-5,000 depending on the samples analyzed and the number of runners controlled, I think that every professional athlete should focus on running only races with WADA control.

And it is that, with the arrival of professional teams, such as this brand new Skyrunners Kenya created and promoted from Spain by Octavio Pérez, the incentives for doping trail running multiply. Athletes have significant bonuses for victories, as well as high salaries. And of course, a 1% extra return can be the difference between gold and silver.

For this reason, I think you notice such a recent one from a Spanish professional athlete, who said he chose races for their technicality, media coverage and economic prizes. Sounds good, sure. But… maybe he forgot that they also have WADA control. Something that, thank God, all high-level federation events, be it Skyrunning or the WMRA (World Mountain Running Sssociation) are already applying in their World Chamnpionships, European Championships and even the World Cup, as in the case of Canfranc already mentioned.

I hope that, in the future, both the organizers and the runners prioritize having that control at the finish line, rather than investing all their money and forgetting about other issues.


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