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Asbel Kiprop hands himself to police after social media threats

Sunday April 28 2019

Asbel Kiprop stops his stopwatch after crossing the finish line to win the men's 800m final during a past National Athletics Championship race at Kasarani. PHOTO | FILE |

Asbel Kiprop stops his stopwatch after crossing the finish line to win the men's 800m final during a past National Athletics Championship race at Kasarani. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BERNARD ROTICH
By BERNARD ROTICH
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Former world and Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, who was yesterday being sought after he took to social media to vent his frustrations, presented himself to police last evening.

Kiprop, a police constable, has been suspended for using banned performance-enhancing substances.

In a sensational tweet, Kiprop, 29, dared his National Police Service bosses to sack him and withdraw his firearm before he uses it to “earn justice”.

The constable also dared the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world athletics governing body, to take all the medals he won in global competitions where he specialises in the 1,500 metres race.

“I pray to National Police Service to dismiss me now. Before I use their machinery to earn myself justice. Kindly, IAAF come take your medals. I don’t need any on my house wall,” he tweeted at 3.23pm yesterday.

At 10.58pm on Friday, the obviously disturbed athlete had sent another tweet saying: “They can’t stand me now & for me to earn justice but if I die today, they will attend my send off to testify my legacy & preach my legacy! Don’t welcome them.”

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Saturday, Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the National Police Service will take the athlete for counselling. Mr Mutyambai said the athlete surrendered himself at Kapseret Police Station.

Earlier, Mr Joseph Kiget, the Deputy Inspector General of the National Police Service in charge of logistics and functions, and who is also the chairman of the police athletics association, said necessary administrative action would be taken against Kiprop.

“We don’t condone such behaviour from our officers. Channels of addressing personal grievances are provided in the NPS rules and regulations and firm administrative action will be taken,” said Mr Kiget.

ORIGINAL AUTHOR

Meanwhile, Eldoret South OCPD Wilson Abduba also confirmed they were following up on the issue.

“We are equally shocked by the posts. At this time we cannot say much as we are still investigating the issue to get the truth of the matter,” said Mr Abduba.

Mr Abduba said that his officers were trying to trace the location of Kiprop, who resides in Elgon View estate in Eldoret town.

He said that as soon as police would establish the truth about the matter, they would share the information with the media.

“At this time we cannot speculate about the post. We are yet to establish if Kiprop is the original author of the message,” said the OCPD.

Kiprop, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1,500m champion, was tentatively suspended by IAAF’s Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) in May last year after having tested positive to blood boosting Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition test in Iten in November 2017.

In his defence, Mr Kiprop continues to maintain his position that the alleged EPO doping in the sample of November 27 2017 is either; a natural (endogenous) EPO; or the sample used to effect the test was not his sample, or otherwise was contaminated, or mixed up with other sample(s); or that the procedure used to test the alleged artificial EPO was flawed, with the result of mistaking natural EPO as artificial EPO.

Kiprop’s ban has been backdated from February 3, 2018, but the athlete has another opportunity to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

One of his closest friends and former world javelin champion Julius Yego, also a policeman, said that it was “disturbing” to see his friend post dangerous, life-threatening messages.

“I talked to Kiprop in the morning but he was stressed up and had a lot of pain, insisting he is going through rough times on something he didn’t do. My worry is that he can do something harmful,” said Yego. Efforts by the Nation to reach Kiprop proved futile as he neither picked our calls nor responded to our texts. Many of his friends suggested that he should go for counselling, but he shot back, asking them where they were when he was banned for using EPO.

Since his doping tribulations started, Kiprop has taken to social media to drown his sorrows.

TURBULENT TIMES

Last year, a video he posted of himself in a compromising position with the wife of one of his training partners went viral. He apologised afterwards.

The previous year, Kiprop knocked down and killed a pedestrian while driving his top-of-the range BMW sports utility vehicle near the Eldoret airport.

The turbulent times have also seen Kiprop separate with his wife, Ms Sammary Cherotich, who is also an athlete and who won a gold medal at the 2007 World Under-18 Championships in the 1,500m race.

“Judges 16:28. Then Samson called out to the LORD: “O Lord GOD, please remember me. Strengthen me, O God, just once more, so that with one vengeful blow I may pay back the enemy for my two eyes,” reads one of his many tweets.

Additional reporting by Titus Ominde

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