ELDORET, Kenya, January 15 – Kenyan steeplechase star Moses Kiptanui has accused the top leadership of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of complacency in fighting corruption and doping that have rocked the sport.
The former three-time 3,000m steeplechase champion and world record holder wondered why IAAF supremo Sebastian Coe and vice-president Sergey Bubka did not raise any alarm over the many ills in world athletics’ governing body during the tenure of former president Lamine Diack.
Senegalese Diack was accused in a WADA report on Thursday of organising “conspiracy and corruption” at the heart of the federation and also sanctioned fraud and extortion of athletes during his 16-year tenure.
“Sebastian Coe has been there eight years as vice-president (and also Bubka). He didn’t smell anything was wrong in the IAAF?” Kiptanui told AFP in an interview.
He said the credibility of Coe to steer the IAAF had been dented but added that the Briton, who himself was a world 800m record holder, must move fast to restore order in the federation if “he wants people to believe he’s a good person.”
Kiptanui said the malpractices in the IAAF were mirrored in Kenya, where three top officials of the national athletics federation were suspended in December over corruption and doping cover-up allegations.
“It is the leadership in Athletics Kenya (AK) that has badly let down the athletes,” he said. “The officials are not ready to provide that leadership and were not interested in the fight against doping”.
The Kenyan said the law on doping should be changed to allow athletes caught to have doped to be banned for life.
“Two years is nothing,” said Kiptanui. “They can still come back strongly… like in the case of American sprinter (Justin) Gatlin. He’s been suspended twice, yet he’s running even stronger than before. So what have we achieved here?”