Athletics Athletics

There was no Berlin ‘fix plot’- Mutai’s agent


NAIROBI, Kenya, October 4- Volare Sport supremo Gerard van Der Veen has denied there was a fix plot by his clients Geoffrey Mutai and training partner Dennis Kimetto during the Berlin Marathon last Sunday.

With speculation mounting in cyberspace more so in social media platforms Twitter and FaceBook the close finish that saw Mutai win in 2:04:15 with Kimetto a stride behind in 2:04:16, the pair’s agent told the Toni Reavis website via email that the claims were false.

“Hi Toni, to be very clear: there was no ‘deal’ between Geoffrey and Dennis!!! Yes, the pacemakers were very disturbed by getting wrong information. Kind regards, Gerard,” the email posted on the read.

The statement on the website linked to American athletics site on Thursday also held that Mutai’s representative felt that a faulty lead clock was the reason why the 2011 Boston and New York Marathon miscalculated the first splits in his failed pursuit for Patrick Makau’s 2:03:38 world record.

Berlin’s media director, Thomas Steffens, denied that the malfunctioning timer led to the collapse of the record bid as alleged by Reavis.

“I totally don’t buy the whole story about the clock problem,” Steffens said this morning in a phone interview from Berlin.

“I understand it’s a nice story for them to be able to tell, but it doesn’t make sense to me that a group of East Africans who train without heart-rate monitors and stop watches would let themselves be fooled by a pace clock.

“Or that they wouldn’t know the difference between a 2:50 pace per kilometre and the high 2:50s they were actually running,” Steffens is quoted saying in the official Berlin Marathon website.

Mutai who bagged the Sh42m ($500,000) World Marathon Majors with an unassailable lead of 75 points with the Berlin victory admitted to clamping at the 35km mark as the factor that put Makau’s effort raced at the same course last year out of his reach.

Eyebrows were raised when Kimetto whom many felt he was stronger than his training partner appeared to be escorting his compatriot to the finish over the last stretch to the tape as an intense battle for the honours failed to materialise.

Efforts to reach Mutai who returned back to the country on Tuesday morning have so far proved to be futile, as he appears to be giving local reporters the slip.

The fastest ever marathoner at 2:03:02 raced while winning Boston last year that is not recognised as a world record due to the elevation drop of the course became the fifth successive Kenyan male winner of the Majors jackpot.

Teammate Kimetto was rewarded with the recognition as the fastest ever debutant at the distance in what ultimately proved to be a win-win outcome for the pair.

“Maybe they had discussed together out on the road about the significance of a win for Mutai here in Berlin. That one second margin virtually assures Geoffrey Mutai the win and $500,000 in the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors Series.

“He has three wins and 75 points. None of the contenders can catch him unless they were to race exceptionally well at BOTH the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon in the next five weeks – a most unlikely scenario,” the WMM wrote on their website.

Olympics silver winner and last year’s World champion, Abel Mutai is second on the WMM race on 40 points with this weekend’s Chicago and the November 4 New York marathons to go and thus cannot catch up with Mutai on the leader board.

With 25 points available for a win, Boston champion, Wesley Korir, who is penned for New York cannot also bridge the gap meaning that Mutai, who did not make his nation’s London Olympics squad, is set to be coroneted at the end of the Big Apple race.