IAAF in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions of Kenya dop­ing cover-up

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

COLORADO SPRINGS: The IAAF has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged dop­ing cover-ups in Kenya since last March, track and field’s world gov­ern­ing body said yes­ter­day.

Con­fir­ma­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Kenya by the IAAF’s ethics com­mis­sion came four days af­ter Rus­sia was sus­pended from in­ter­na­tional track com­pe­ti­tion for a state-spon­sored dop­ing pro­gram out­lined in a re­port by a World Anti-Dop­ing Agency com­mis­sion.

“An IAAF staff mem­ber re­ferred al­le­ga­tions of the cov­er­ing up of dop­ing in Kenya to the IAAF Ethics Com­mis­sion in March of 2015,” the fed­er­a­tion said in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press. Al­le­ga­tions have been made by Ger­man broad­caster ARD that Kenyan track of­fi­cials were ex­tort­ing money from ath­letes and coaches to cover up failed drug tests, or in re­turn for le­nient dop­ing bans.

A Kenyan ath­let­ics coach re­cently told the AP he knew of three marathon run­ners who bribed of­fi­cials to get more le­nient pun­ish­ments af­ter fail­ing dop­ing tests. The coach, Paul Sim­bolei, made the larger ac­cu­sa­tions to ARD of of­fi­cials de­mand­ing money or a share of an ath­lete’s win­nings in ex­change for con­ceal­ing dop­ing.

Sim­bolei de­clined to name run­ners or of­fi­cials in­volved, but said he ex­pected to be for­mally in­ter­viewed by Kenyan po­lice, with whom he had al­ready spo­ken. “The IAAF en­cour­ages all per­sons with in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially any­one with direct ev­i­dence of th­ese mat­ters, to pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion and ev­i­dence to the IAAF Ethics Com­mis­sion through its web­site,” the IAAF said in yes­ter­day’s state­ment to AP.

Threats

Sim­bolei told the AP that he had re­ceived threats af­ter speak­ing out, and sus­pected those threats were made by Kenyan track of­fi­cials. The IAAF in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged cover-ups in­creases the pos­si­bil­ity that Kenya, the dis­tance run­ning pow­er­house that tied with Ja­maica for the most gold medals with seven at the world cham­pi­onships in Au­gust, could fol­low Rus­sia and be sus­pended. That could rule a string of Kenyan stars out of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which are just nine months away.

Also yes­ter­day, the IAAF ac­knowl­edged it had pre­vi­ously known about a sep­a­rate Kenyan cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing a se­nior track of­fi­cial who is a mem­ber of the world body’s gov­ern­ing coun­cil.

David Okeyo, a vice pres­i­dent of the Kenyan ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion, is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Kenyan po­lice along with two other top track of­fi­cials for al­leged em­bez­zle­ment of around $700,000 of spon­sor­ship money meant for the na­tional fed­er­a­tion. The other two are cur­rent Ath­let­ics Kenya Pres­i­dent Isa­iah Ki­pla­gat and Joseph Kinyua, a for­mer fed­er­a­tion trea­surer and the man­ager of the Kenyan team at the world cham­pi­onships in Beijing.

The IAAF pre­vi­ously said it been alerted this week­end to the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against Okeyo, a mem­ber of the coun­cil which voted last week to sus­pend Rus­sia. Yes­ter­day, the IAAF told the AP that it had learned of the al­le­ga­tions against Okeyo ear­lier this year, also in March, and had in­formed its ethics com­mit­tee then.

“We have now checked in­ter­nally in the IAAF and can con­firm that an IAAF Mem­ber of Staff re­ferred the mat­ter to the in­de­pen­dent Ethics Com­mis­sion in March of 2015,” the IAAF said in an email.

That means the IAAF knew about and was look­ing into the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions be­fore Okeyo be­came a mem­ber of its coun­cil in Au­gust, and be­fore Ki­pla­gat ran as a can­di­date for a vice pres­i­dent po­si­tion at the IAAF that same month. The IAAF and its in­de­pen­dent ethics com­mis­sion will not com­ment fur­ther on ei­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til they are con­cluded, the fed­er­a­tion said. — AP

BOS­TON: In this Mon­day, April 21, 2014 file photo, Rita Jep­too of Kenya breaks the tape to win the women’s di­vi­sion of the 118th Bos­ton Marathon in Bos­ton. As the world fo­cuses on Rus­sia and its dop­ing scan­dal, run­ning great and head of the Kenyan Olympic com­mit­tee Kip Keino is preparing for the spot­light to turn to Kenya, and he is wor­ried that his coun­try could be fac­ing a blan­ket ban from com­pe­ti­tion if it doesn’t clean up its act. — AP

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