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Kemboi cleared to run in the Olympics

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 2- Athens Olympics gold medallist and two-time world steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, has been cleared to compete at London 2012 despite facing criminal assault charges.

The National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) found Kemboi had not violated the Olympics Charter and three other counts that could have ruled him out of being entered for competition after meeting on Monday.

“Kemboi has not violated the Olympics Charter which is the most important thing under consideration when entering athletes for the Games and we will have him in our team,” Team Kenya CEO and Nock official, Stephen Soi, told Capital Sports.

Kemboi, who joined his team mates at the residential camp at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in the outskirts of Nairobi, was arraigned in court on Thursday after allegedly stabbing restaurateur, Ann Njeri, 26, after a scuffle the night before.

He was released on a Sh50,000 bond and Sh20,000 cash bail pending the hearing of the case in September as the 2004 Olympics crown holder vehemently denied the claims.

The Olympics Charter is a set of rules and guidelines for the organisation of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic Movement.

Adopted by International Olympic Committee (IOC), it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and By-laws.

Its provisions on participants under the by laws of Rule 45 (Invitations and Entry) states;

“As a condition precedent to participation in the Olympic Games, every competitor shall comply with all provisions contained in the Olympic Charter and the rules of the International Federation (IF) governing his sport.

“Such competitor must be duly qualified by such IF. The NOC which enters the competitor ensures under its own responsibility that such competitor is fully aware of and complies with the Olympic Charter and the World Anti-Doping Code.”

Soi expounded further reasons why the probe committee appointed by Nock in the aftermath of the incident ruled to uphold Kemboi’s dream of becoming the first Kenyan to win two steeplechase Olympics medals.

“Kemboi is deemed innocent until proven guilty and this lies with the prosecution in the case.

“He was selected for London 2012 on merit and above all, he is an Olympian and a gold medallist at that and the country’s Constitution gives him that protection.”

Kemboi booked his London place after finishing second to reigning titleholder, Brimin Kipruto at the June 23 Kenya Trials.

Officials had placed a couple of potential replacements on notice as the probe went on to establish whether his stay in the team was tenable namely Athens Olympics bronze winner, Paul Kipsiele, the world leader and Commonwealth and African champion, Richard Mateelong.

Nock reviewed strict entry laws to the UK that bar anyone convicted or facing criminal charges from being granted Visa but IOC accreditation given to Olympics participants waives this requirement.

On Friday, Soi told the media Nock had dispatched a team to Eldoret to establish the facts of the case as he alluded a stitch-up for Kemboi from his accuser and police.

“As it stands, the incident is an allegation and constitutionally he is innocent he is innocent until proven guilty but an incident has occurred. I have a different version of what transpired but I do not want to disclose that because it may jeopardise the course of the investigation.

“The information we have is totally different from what may been portrayed but the matter is in court and I cannot discuss it,” Soi said at the time.

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