AK welcomes IAAF ethics probe into doping cover-up

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AK GALANAIROBI, November 17- The IAAF Ethics Commission confirmed Tuesday it was investigating claims top Athletics Kenya (AK) officials received bribes to cover up doping cases in the country.

Should the investigation find them culpable, Kenya will follow Russia federation, ARAF, in being suspended from international competition with the country’s respected top athletes potentially missing the 2016 Rio Olympics.

And in a swift rejoinder, AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat, welcomed any investigations on a matter adding legal action will be taken against anyone publishing information that is meant to tarnish the name of the sport in the country.

The Associated Press reported they received an email from the world governing body stating; “An IAAF staff member referred allegations of the covering up of doping in Kenya to the IAAF Ethics Commission in March of 2015.”

“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.”

Kiplagat, who stated he had never sat on the AK anti-doping committee however, said they would contact the world body to clarify on the probe since any punishment handed out to convicted drug cheats is done in accordance with IAAF rules.

“There is no way you can give an erroneous sentence to an athlete who has been found to have dope tested. It is a level, when you call those athletes, it’s a court. That court is composed of ten people. The chairman is always a doctor.

“When the reports comes (adverse findings), it comes straight to the secretary general (CEO) and you call the manager, coach and the athlete is allowed to call any witness. Anything presented in that committee leads to the decision of whether its two to four years and that is sent to the IAAF together with all the write-ups.

“IAAF then decide to agree with the decision, enhance the punishment of decide against the sentence and when that happens, we recall the committee. There is no way anybody can take money to reduce the sentence. How! The president does not sit in that committee,” the long-serving AK boss told.

“That board is totally independent, it is composed if AK officials and members from outside. Where do we come in?

“We welcome them to come like yesterday. I want them to come like yesterday to come and tell us this is the list of athletes who were given a reduced sentence and tell us by
whom. And let them give us evidence.

“We have to be very serious and factual about these things,” Kiplagat charged.

The claims of bribery centre around evidence given by Paul Simbolei, a coach based in Iten who accused AK officials of demanding money to bride officials for doping cheats to get lighter sentences.

Simbolei, who was being interviewed by German TV, ARD who aired a doping exposé on Kenya on August 1 further claimed the federation big wigs were also asking for a share of winnings from athletes to cover doping according to AP.

“This thing of Simbolei, he is not even employed by AK. The guy is a runaway fugitive because he has been forging AK letters and going to Europe producing them. Embassies have come to us saying he has been producing letters and saying he will be arrested, it has nothing to do with doping,” Kiplagat counter-claimed.

The AK boss insisted in-competition tests are handled by Regional Anti-Doping Organisation in collaboration with AK where the samples are sent to South Africa for analysis with results sent to IAAF whilst out-of-competition tests are done by the world governing body itself.

“They are the ones who tell us so and so was found positive, take action. We don’t have a lab or an analysis centre,” the federation chief added.

The latest development comes hot on the heels of IAAF voting to suspend Russia from international competition following claims of systematic doping with the world body appointing a five-member inspection team chaired by Norwegian Rune Andersen.

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