NAIROBI, April 13- Athletics Kenya (AK) suspended Rosa Associati and Volare Sports for six months pending investigations into doping dealing a potential blow to the careers of famous elite athletes under the Italian and Dutch stables on Monday.
The national federation accused the two firms of being responsible for the surge in doping cases in the country that has seen 36 runners test positive, including the high profile bust of star female runner; thrice Boston and twice Chicago marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo of Rosa who was banned for two years in January for EPO use.
“There have been a lot of reports relating to doping in Kenya and a lot of fingers pointed at people, agents, doctors and pharmacists. We know it’s an intricate issue and critical matter and we want to deal with it.
“In the mean time as a federation, we have decided to suspend two agents in the time being so that investigations can be carried out and when the results are out we will decide whether they come back.
“The two we are going to mention manage the highest number of elite athletes. We will therefore, working with the IAAF and meet promoters of the Diamond League and so forth to agree on the modalities of how we will manage these athletes so that they do not miss competition.
“This suspension or the Kenyan way now of stepping aside will be for a period of six months; the two that we have today (Monday) decided that let us put them aside are Rosa and Associates and Gerard van der Veen,” Kiplagat told the press in Nairobi.
He added Dutchman Van der Veen has cases in his camp he could not reveal at since they would compromise the investigations with a committee to investigate them that will involve the newly created Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya and Criminal Investigations Departement that deals with organised crime involved.
The stable handles mainly marathon running studs including record holder, Dennis Kimetto, his predecessor and two-time London champion, Wilson Kipsang as well as two-time Boston and New York winner, Geoffrey Mutai.
Rosa who led by Dr. Gabrielle Rosa and his son Federico; closed their female marathon training camp in Kapsabet recently over doping allegations subjecting all athletes in their camp to dope testing at Eldoret Hospital.
Speaking to Capital Sport, two-time reigning world champion, Asbel Kiprop who is a high profile client of Rosa said the decision to leave them without a manager had the potential of wrecking their season.
“The wind of low athletes that are doping has now affected even those of us at the top that are clean and train hard to win. I have never used drugs and this will affect the sport itself.
“We don’t what to do now since we don’t have a manager. They should punish those involved individually. We need our manager to stay in Europe during Diamond League races in Italy for example, now we don’t know what to do,” Kiprop, who is training for the IAAF Diamond League opener in Doha, said.
The 2011 and 13 world champion over 1500m who is bidding for a third in Beijing later this summer is due to report to camp with the Kenya team for the Bahamas World Relays Tuesday having made the medley squad following Friday’s Trials in Nairobi.
“One thing is the managers will not be affected. Rosa will stay in Italy and Gerard in Netherlands. It is we who will suffer. Our managers give us space to focus on training and looking for another at this stage of the season will not be easy,” he added.
-Mutwiri Mutuota and Alex Isaboke