NAIROBI, November 4- “Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!” was the only thing a devastated thrice Boston and twice Chicago Marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo, uttered as she was being whisked away in a vehicle after appearing before the Athletics Kenya (AK) Medical and Anti-Doping Commission on Tuesday to state her case after her A-Sample tested positive for EPO.
Looking drained, a distraught Jeptoo, 33, spent the whole day arguing her side of the story before the federation in yet another step in the protracted process of establishing whether she is a drug cheat or not.
She has consequently decided to exercise her right to have analysis of her B-Sample to establish the validity of her failed test and her request has been forwarded to IAAF.
“AK is taking this matter very seriously and we would like to prove to the world that we are not lying on things that we know are bad. We are taking doping issues very seriously and should, and I repeat, should; the case of Rita is not supported by any facts as required by the rules of doping, AK will take very drastic action,” AK vice-president in charge of administration, David Okeyo, said after the athlete left their Riadha House headquarters.
“Doping issues are not just done within a short time. There are rules governing this and those are the rules we are trying to follow. We have given a hearing to Rita; she has already given her statement,” Okeyo added.
In statement following the announcement, AK outlined the latest development in a saga that has cast aspersions on a country with an established tradition of distance running excellence.
“Athletics Kenya would like to confirm that the Medical and Anti-doping Commission held its meeting today (4th November 2014) at the AK Headquarters at Riadha House where the athlete Rita Jeptoo Busienei appeared in person.
“This meeting was held in the view of establishing the facts surrounding the case against Rita Jeptoo. Further to this hearing we would like to inform you of the following: The first hearing was constituted and held on 4th November 2014. The athlete has been formally notified of the adverse analytical finding.
“The athlete has provided her written explanation for the adverse analytical finding. The athlete has expressed her right to have the analysis of the B sample. This has been forwarded to the IAAF for further consideration in line with the IAAF rules.
“Owing to the nature of the above subject matter and as guided by the WADA code and the IAAF rules and regulations, the athlete has certain rights that safeguard her. At this early stage therefore, we would like to make it clear that this matter is guided by utmost confidentiality. We are happy with our first meeting and the athlete has been cooperative throughout the meeting.
“Upon the expiration of the confidentiality period as guided by the IAAF rules more information will be communicated.”
World Anti-Doping Agency rules on the subject state, “The B sample is tested to confirm the presence of the prohibited substance detected in the A sample. The athlete has the opportunity to be present when the B sample’s tamper-proof glass top is opened and the sample is tested. The athlete, the athlete’s sport national governing body, the USOC, and WADA are all informed of a positive A and B sample.”
The athlete or the concerned federation can appeal the findings of both samples in case of adverse results to the Court for Arbitration for Sports whose decision on the matter is final.
Jeptoo’s positive test reports first surfaced online on RunBlogRun.com last Thursday from the out of competition test conducted in September.
Jeptoo went on to clock 2:24:35 on October 12 for victory in Chicago to wrap up a fourth successive World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory and in the process, clinch a share of the 2013/14 series jackpot worth USD500,000 (Sh44,699,969.3).
The award WMM ceremony was cancelled pending the outcome of the bombshell development.
Already, her Rosa Associati management has disowned the athlete saying they had nothing to do with her involvement in substance abuse, taking a hardline stance they will drop her from the stable if she is proved to have been on proscribed drugs.
Her Italian coach, Claudio Berardelli, said in New York, “I feel stupid. I feel like I’m no longer able to do this job — I don’t know what is my real impact because now it seems like there is something going on behind the scenes,”