NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Three-time World 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop has come out fighting allegations that he failed an out of competitions drug test with international media outlets reporting that he had allegedly tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug EPO (erythropoietin).
In a statement released on Thursday evening, Kiprop through his lawyer Katwa Kigen has categorically stated that he is a clean athlete and made among other grave allegations that his sample collected in November last year might have been contaminated by Anti-Doping officials.
Despite Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) keeping mum on the issue which burst into public limelight on Wednesday, Kiprop has admitted in his statement that he was made aware of his positive test on February 3, 2018.
In his statement, Kiprop explains that he had gone to fetch money from his bedroom upon request from the ADAK officials and he suspects it is at this time that the sample might have been contaminated.
“After I had supplied the required urine into initial vessel I left the sample on the table where Paul Scott and Simon Karugu “Mburu” were seated to go to my bedroom to look for cash money upon their request,” the statement read in part.
“However I subsequently decided to use M-Pesa. When I went to my bedroom to collect the cash I left the urine sample, in the plastic vessel in the sitting room, where as stated above, Paul Scott and Mr. Simon Karugu were seated with the samples.”
“I don’t know if my sample was interfered with while I was at the bedroom. I don’t know if the amount I remitted could have been less than what was expected from me, and if it caused annoyance that may have resulted in the contamination of the sample,” Kiprop alleged in his statement.
He further goes on to insinuate that the two Anti-Doping officials were extorting money from him and might have paid the ultimate price for probably delivering a low figure.
A further grave statement made by the triple World Champion is that he has allegedly been pressurized to admit the doping offence and in turn he would be offered an ambassadorial role.
“When I was told for the 1st time that my sample turned positive on 3rd February 2018 (4 months after sample collection on 27th November 2017) I was extremely shocked. I was however very confident the mistake alleging I doped would be noted and I would be cleared,” he says.
“I have been asked to admit that I doped so that I would be made an ambassador of I.A.A.F on anti-doping. I have refused, as this is not only untrue but also a fraud. I do not need absolution on the allegations,” the 28-year old further alleged.
He has further taken issue with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) which has been quoted in a section of media on the same, saying they have a strict confidentiality code on such sensitive issues.
It would be a serious blow to Kenyan athletics if it is confirmed that 28-year-old Kiprop, one of the biggest names in the country’s stellar cast of middle-distance athletes, has tested positive for the endurance-enhancing drug.
Mathew Kisorio also served a ban for doping and returned to competitive action.
Enroute to the Rio Olympics in 2016, Kiprop was one of the most vocal insisting that Kenyan athletes are clean as pressure mounted on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to declare Kenya non-compliant and in the process block its athletes from the Olympics.
“I have been tested so many times until now I think I don’t have enough blood in my system,” Kiprop joked then on the number of times Anti-Doping officials were tip-toeing in the shadow of Kenyan athletes at their residential camp in Eldoret.
“I am told EPO is put into the body using injection. The last time I had an injection was in 2014 when I was given a yellow fever vaccination before travelling to Bahamas for a competition,” the athlete noted in his statement on Thursday.
He had been scheduled to compete in Friday’s 2018 season opening IAAF Diamond League leg in Doha but has subsequently been withdrawn, probably because of the doping issue.
He further goes on to state that if at all he had doped, he would not have done it less than seven months before he competes in Doha.
“I pray to be given the benefit of doubt even as I am cast into this lonely isolation. I know it may be impossible to defend myself from any accuser who has made up his mind and who would view my protestations as a mere denial,” Kiprop said.
“I however pray that all and sundry of good-will do not hasten to summarily make negative assumptions and judgment about me. I grave to be seen for who I am, what I have stood for and what I represent. However for the determined, before God and before man, I am innocent. I did not dope. I do not labor under the weight of the shame of doping,” he concluded in his statement.