Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba yet to officially receive $100,000 earnings for winning 2014 Boston Marathon

Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba yet to officially receive $100,000 earnings for winning 2014 Boston Marathon

Mark Kinyanjui 21:00 - 12.04.2024

Deba has yet to receive the $100, 000 (Ksh.13 million) she was to receive after being declared winner in 2016 after original Kenyan champion Rita Jeptoo was disqualified for doping.

Ethiopian athlete  Buzunesh Deba is still awaiting to be paid her price money for winning the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Deba was declared the winner of the event after being  Informed by a friend that the original winner, Rita Jeptoo, had been disqualified for doping. Deba, the second-place finisher, was suddenly elevated to the top spot.

Due $75,000  (Ksh 9.75 million) for moving up to first place and an additional $25,000 (Ksh 3.25 million) bonus for breaking the women's course record, Deba's rightful earnings remain elusive.

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the marathon's organizers, have cited ongoing efforts to reclaim the prize money from Rita Jeptoo, the original winner. 

Despite repeated inquiries, Deba and her husband, Worku Beyi, are frustrated by the lack of progress. Beyi expressed their sentiment to Wall Street Journal.

"It's not small money, the money we lost."

Deba's predicament arose from advancing anti-doping measures. While Jeptoo didn't fail a doping test immediately after the 2014 race, subsequent testing revealed the presence of the banned substance EPO.

 The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) later issued a four-year sanction against Jeptoo, including the disqualification of her 2014 Boston win.

Under previous rules, prize money could only be reallocated once reimbursed by the ineligible athlete. 

However, there's no prohibition preventing the BAA from voluntarily paying Deba her owed prize money. Despite the BAA's substantial assets, Deba and Beyi's inquiries have yielded little progress over the years.

Communication with the BAA has been sparse, with the couple's last exchange in late 2023 failing to address the outstanding prize money.

 While Deba continues her training, aiming to return to elite racing, the unresolved issue looms large. "I want to win again, Boston Marathon," Deba expressed, emphasizing her desire to compete and reclaim her rightful earnings.

As the 2024 Boston Marathon approaches, Deba's story underscores the importance of accountability and fairness in sports, while also highlighting the enduring pursuit of justice in the face of adversity.

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