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German TV claims massive EPO use in Kenya

Suspended female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo. PHOTO/File

Suspended female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, August 1- Kenyan athletes and top Athletics Kenya (AK) officials have been adversely implicated in a damning doping expose by German TV, ARD that aired Saturday evening.

Renowned German investigative journalist, Hajo Seppelt, who caused a storm three years ago when he did another report associating the country’s runners in systematic substance abuse abetted by officials of the national body prepared the latest bombshell titled “Doping – Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics”.

The English version whose link can be found here show lurid images captured undercover of how unnamed athletes in were being injected with blood booster, EPO, that led to the two-year ban of top female marathoner, Rita Jeptoo, in January.

Jeptoo also appears in the video claiming in all her years as an athlete, she has never been blood tested in Kenya, a loophole the documentary claims is helping many dope cheats escape the dragnet.

The Kenyan segment of the report where Russia is the first nation to be put on the spotlight goes claim the untimely death of father of four Geoffrey Tarno, who collapsed and later passed on when leading the Kimbilio Hospice Marathon in 2013 may have been caused by EPO use.

Tarno, 32, was leading with two kilometres remaining when he collapsed and died before an ambulance carrying him could reach a hospital. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

On AK, top current and past officials are alleged to have withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from cash sent by kit sponsor and major financier, Nike.

The exposé is aimed at showing the number of athletes suspected of doping in the world is higher than had ever been thought.

It is based on a leaked list of more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012, including numerous Olympic and World champions, was initially statistically analyzed by the ARD Doping editorial team together with the British newspaper the Sunday Times.

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“A total of 800 athletes in disciplines from 800 metres to the Marathon register values which, according to the definition of the Biological Passport of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are regarded as suspicious or even highly suspicious.

“In the analysis of the blood levels of the medal-winners at World Championships and Olympic Games between 2001 and 2012, in the same disciplines that expert judgment is even more alarming: according to the figures, every third medal was won by athletes, for whom one or even both experts had identified suspicious blood values in the database,” a statement from ARD read in part.

When contacted by Capital Sport, AK said they would issue a comprehensive statement on Sunday although interim president, Lt. (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei did term the timing of the release suspect with Kenya naming her team to the August 22 to 30 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

“We are aware there is a documentary that is to be aired at 6:30pm (local time/+3GMT) by a German TV. Most of foreign journalists come and interview our athletes and get facts that are not correct.

“We will watch it and then respond after that. I urge athletes to be very careful who they speak to,” the retired Armed Forces boss told the assembled athletes and dignitaries led by Kenya president, Uhuru Kenyatta, as the Trials for Beijing concluded in Nairobi.

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