Athletics Athletics

AK to probe marathoners in failed dope tests


NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24- Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, said on Tuesday the federation will probe claims that two of the country’s female marathoners have failed doping tests. quoted German state network ARD sports programme Sportschau reporting on Sunday that Jemimah Sumgong, who was the runner-up at Boston Marathon and Hamburg Marathon champion, Rael Kihara had their A-samples test positive.

“We are not aware of any positive blood test in any of our runners. According to procedure, such information should come from (world governing body) IAAF since the alleged athletes competed abroad.

“We are investigating the matter and once we establish the details, we shall let you know since like I maintained before, we have nothing to hide,” the federation boss told Capital Sport.

Kiplagat who came out charging in the defence of Kenyan athletes when the same programme aired in May by ARD reporter, Hajo Seppelt alleged the country’s distance runners were engaged in blood doping was sceptical about the latest charges.

“I cannot certainly say anything on the matter until the investigations are complete but I’m concerned why the same station that has not proven its accusations about our athletes would go ahead and publish further claims,” he added.

According to ARD, Kiyara tested positive for a steroid after winning the Hamburg marathon on April 29 and Sumgong was caught using a cortisone product after finishing second in Boston on April 16.

The two are not in Kenya’s line-up for the London 2012 Olympics.

Kiyara won the Hamburg race in 2:23:47 while Sumgong trailed compatriot Sharon Cherop across the line in 2:31:52 as Georgina Rono came in to complete the Kenyan sweep. The B-Samples of the tests are yet to return results.

In the ARD dossier aired on May 19, Seppelt who was working undercover as a prospective Athletes’ Representative reportedly found out that doping is rife not only amongst Kenyan middle and long distance runners and but even with some of the foreign athletes who have been training in the famous high altitude area of Iten.

“This story depicts Kenya as a country that uses to use drugs to enhance performances. I want to assure that 99 percent of our athletes win cleanly.

“We in AK are not aware of any athlete who has used drugs and those found have been punished according to IAAF rules,” Kiplagat charged back at the claims then.

He added: “We ask this journalist to come forward and present the details since we have exposed all our athletes found cheating and this is in the public domain.”

In a rejoinder, Peter Schreiber, ARD German TV Nairobi Bureau Chief, defended the exposé saying it presented the federation with enough clues to launch a probe to verify the charges.

“ARD reporters received hints that there might be doping. They investigated according to the rules of fair journalism. And in the course of investigations, they found strong indications that at least some Kenyan athletes break the rules.

“Putting the blame on the messenger carrying the bad news is too easy a way to distract attention from the alarming content itself,” Schreiber said.