Kenya's Kiplagat seeks $1 million in prize money lost to drugs cheats

Edna Kiplagat of Kenya celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the women's Elite London Marathon April 13, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (Reuters)

ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat wants $1 million dollars (693,783 pound) to be retrospectively awarded to her as the rivals who pipped her to two lucrative World Marathon Majors series titles have since been banned for doping. Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova beat Kiplagat to scoop the $500,00 series jackpot in 2010/2011, and the Kenyan runner finished second in the rankings to compatriot Rita Jeptoo in 2013/2014. Both women were later suspended for doping. Kiplagat said her drive has been dented by losing out to drugs cheats in the World Marathon Majors, a series comprising big-city marathon events in New York, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Berlin. "My talent is being wasted. I don't have any motivation," Kiplagat said in Eldoret, some 350km northwest of the capital Nairobi. "Shobukhova and Jeptoo have been suspended but I have not been paid what was due to me." Race organisers and World Marathon Majors officials have tried to get prize money back from Shobukhova and Jeptoo, but it was not clear if they have done so. Failed tests by Jeptoo, Shobukhova and several other top runners have cast a pall over athletics in recent years. The sport has also been hit by allegations of corruption within the world governing body, the IAAF. Kiplagat, 36, said she will not run any road races this year as she was focussed on winning a spot on Kenya's marathon team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. "My major marathon is set for April to enable me qualify for Olympics. This year’s Olympics remain my main goal," she said, without elaborating which marathon she will be running in April. More than 40 Kenyan runners have failed drugs tests in the past few years. Jeptoo, who won Boston and Chicago marathons, was the highest profile Kenyan runner to fail a test during this period. Kiplagat, the winner of London and New York marathons, said many Kenyans are worried the east African nation's reputation has been tarnished. "We want to change the image Kenyan athletics acquired last year following a few cases of doping," she said. "We want to bring back our (good) image." (Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Dominic Evans)