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AK lifts ban on two agents ‘for the sake of athletes’

Thursday October 15 2015

Disgraced marathoner Rita Jeptoo (left) arrives with her lawyer at the Athletics Kenya headquarters in Nairobi on January 15, 2015.

Disgraced marathoner Rita Jeptoo (left) arrives with her lawyer at the Athletics Kenya headquarters in Nairobi on January 15, 2015. Following Russia’s suspension from global athletics for violating doping rules, German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting now wants Kenya and Jamaica also investigated. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Athletics Kenya has lifted the suspension of two management firms, Rosa Associati and Volare Sports.

The two are under investigation over doping allegation surrounding their athletes.

AK president Jackson Tuwei said the investigating team had told the two firms to resume their work for the sake of the innocent athletes even as investigations neared completion.

The two firms were suspended in May this year after several athletes from their stable were banned for doping offences.

“The team that includes officers from Directorate of Criminal Investigation office has tentatively reviewed the case since athletes from the two firms have found it difficult to operate in their training programmes and sourcing for races,” said Tuwei.

“We really had to make a decision since not every athlete is a culprit in doping.”

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Tuwei said the investigation scope had been widened, going beyond the two firms and a final report and action would be taken in due course.

“We are also investigating both local and foreign coaches and agents who are not from the two firms,” Tuwei said.

“Some of the athletes who have doped are not from the two firms hence we are zeroing on foreign coaches, who are in the country illegally.”

“The two firms are not yet off the hook.

“We just want to make things easy for athletes who have been suffering during the suspension,” said Tuwei.

Tuwei said part of the final investigations will involve convening a meeting for coaches and agents in Nairobi by February next year. Tuwei said that they were already in talks with the government on how to enact legislation that will punish doping offenders.

“Right now we can’t charge people for doping offences but if a law is passed then we will be able to deal with institutions and persons involved,” said Tuwei.

The lifting of the suspension comes in the wake of the ban of two athletes associated with Rosa Associati a fortnight ago, 800m runner Agatha Jeruto and long distance runner Josephine Jepkoech Jepkorir.

Rita Jeptoo is the other high profiled athlete, who was banned in January this year for two years after testing positive for prohibited substance Erythropoietin.

BERARDELLI BANNED

Already, Rosa Associati has moved swiftly to fire its coach Claudio Berardelli, who had been handling most of the Kenyan runners.

Among the top athletes from Rosa Associati that is managed by Gabrielle Rosa and his son Federico are the current World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former world 800m champions, Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei and Alfred Kirwa.

Also in the stable are Commonwealth 5,00m champion Mercy Cherono.

In recent years, two Volare athletes have received doping suspensions. Flomena Chepchirchir is currently serving a six-month suspension while Lilian Jelagat was given a two-year ban in 2013 for EPO use.

Volare Sports, managed by Dutchman Gerard Van de Veen, works with 50 Kenyan athletes, notables include marathon world record-holder Dennis Kimetto, former world record holder and 2014 World Marathon Majors champion Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey Mutai.

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