Athletics Athletics

Coach alleges death threats on junior runner


LETTING-KAROKIGUIYANG, March 28- Head coach David Letting has called on authorities to launch investigations into alleged death threats on junior women 6km runner, Winfred Nzisa Mbithe who finished 10th at Guiyang World Cross on Saturday.

Letting disclosed the startling threats were communicated through her phone when the team was still in residential camp in Kigari, Embu blaming them for destabilised the junior 6km squad that lost heavily to Ethiopia.

“There is something I want to say about the junior women. There was somebody who called and threatened Mbithe telling her if she wins, she will not return home alive.

“Authorities should investigate who made the phone call. Before we left Kigari, someone called at night and when it was reported in the morning, we tried to call back, the guy had locked his phone and we reported to (Athletics Kenya vice-president) Paul Mutwii,” Letting disclosed the disturbing claims.

“I believe the threats affected the whole team because as juniors, they can easily be scared,” he added saying they decided not to announce the development to avoid deflating the entire team.

Running in the opening race of the day, Mbithe took early charge of proceedings before compatriot Daisy Jepkemei went to the front only for the Ethiopian trio of Letesenbet Gidey (19:48), Dera Dida (19:49) and Etagegn Woldu (19:53) claimed all the medals and with Mihret Tefera finishing fifth, team gold went to them as well.

Jepkemei (19:59) prevented the perfect 10 score by finishing fourth with Mbithe, coming home in 20:13 on her World Cross debut rounded the top ten.

Ethiopia last won the 6km women’s world title in 2009 through 3000m World Indoor record holder, Genzebe Dibaba in Amman, Jordan.

-Mutwiri Mutuota is reporting from Guiyang