Kenyan distance runner Susan Chepkemei has been given a one-year doping ban after testing positive for salbutamol in an out-of-competition test.
Valentijn Trouw, the 32-year-old runner's agent, said Tuesday that Chepkemei was given the asthma medication in September by a doctor.
"In September, she got pregnant," Trouw said in a telephone interview from the Netherlands. "At the beginning of her pregnancy, she didn't feel well. She got the medicine from her doctor.
"She was completely convinced the medicine was OK because her doctor knew she was a professional athlete."
The 2001 Rotterdam Marathon champion and world half marathon silver medalist was tested by the International Association of Athletics Federations in Kenya on Sept. 10, the sport's governing body said in a statement.
"She fully cooperated with the test and wrote down on the doping form the medicine she had taken the evening before," Trouw said. "Later in the year she was informed her doping test showed a positive result."
Trouw said he received a letter from the IAAF on Feb. 14 stating that Chepkemei had been banned for one year. Athletics Kenya had already handed Chepkemei a one-year ban.
Because she had pneumonia, Chepkemei was given the shorter suspension instead of the usual two-year ban for a first-time offender.
Chepkemei's ban started on Oct. 19, 2007, and she was stripped of any results from Sept. 10.
Chepkemei is one of Kenya's best long distance runners. Besides her Rotterdam win, she finished second in the 2004 New York Marathon and won the silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
She has also finished second at the Berlin Marathon and was third at the 2006 London Marathon.
In 2005, Chepkemei missed the World Cross Country Championships after being suspended by the Kenyan Athletics Federation for failing to attend a training camp.