NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 – Elijah Manangoi, the 2017 1500m world champion has apoligized after being slapped with a two-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), admitting that he has ‘betrayed the trust’ of those close to him.
Manangoi was slapped with the ban, effective December 2019, by the AIU after three consecutive missed tests between July and December last year.
In a statement posted on his socials, Manangoi admitted to the charge and waived down on his opportunity to appeal.
“I have received the verdict from AIU and as I sit here, I have acknowledged that I made a mistake on my Whereabouts failures and I have accepted their decisions, though it will be difficult to forgive myself.”
“I’m sorry for disappointing my country, Athletics Kenya, my management, my coach and all whom I have betrayed their trust,” Manangoi said in a post.
He added; “I’m a clean athlete and I will be back on track and win right.”
Manangoi’s ban has been backdated to the date of his last missed test, December 22, 2019. The ban will effectively come to an end on December 22, 2021 meaning he will miss the Tokyo Olympics, the World Athletics Championship in Oregon and next year’s Diamond League.
He will be back to contest in 2022, just in time to defend his Commonwealth Games title.
All of Manangoi’s explanations for his three missed tests, twice in which he asked for administrative review, were thrown out by the AIU.
For his first missed test on July 3, 2019, Manangoi had explained that, on 2 July 2019, his connecting flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi had been delayed and as a consequence he only arrived in Nairobi at around 23:00 on 2 July 2019.
He claimed that his luggage did not arrive with him from his original departure destination (San Francisco) and that his house key was in his luggage.
He stated that he had tried to change his Whereabouts information but “couldn’t do because time couldn’t allow because it was already past midnight”.
As he did not have his house keys, he had stayed in the nearest airport hotel whichled in turn to his Missed Test in Rongai the following morning.
On his second missed test on November 12, 2019, Manangoi explained that, on the morning of 12 November 2019, he had been returning home from a night shift connected to his role with the Kenya Police Service, but that due to traffic, he had been unable to make it to his nominated address before the end of his specified time slot.
His allocated time spot was 5am-6am, the location being the Nazarene University in Ongata Rongai.
For the third missed test on December 22, Manangoi explained to the AIU that he had been injured since 27 August 2019 and that, in December, he had travelled to Austria to receive a further diagnosis and treatment in respect of that injury.
He attached to his explanation copies of his flight tickets indicating that he had travelled on Saturday 14 December from Nairobi to Munich and travelled back from Munich to Nairobi on 21 and 22 December 2019.
He confirmed that his return flight had left Munich at 21:30 on 21 December and arrived in Dubai at 06:40 on 22 December and then his connecting flight to Nairobi departed Dubai at 10:25 on 22 December, arriving finally in Nairobi at 14:35 that day.
He explained that he had delegated full responsibility for his Whereabouts information and updates to a third party in Kenya.
He stated that both his Authorised Athlete Representative and the Delegate were fully aware of his return travel arrangements to Nairobi, but that the Delegate had made a mistake when entering the details of his trip into ADAMS.
More specifically, on 13 December, the Delegate updated the Athlete’s Whereabouts information in ADAMS with the detail of his trip from Nairobi to Austria being from 15 December until 21 December.
The Delegate mistakenly failed to appreciate that the Athlete would not in fact arrive back in Nairobi until after his 60-minute time slot (05:00-06:00) on 22 December and therefore did not update his information for that date.
The AIU however threw out all the explanations, stating that none had rebutted the presumption of negligence.
He becomes another statistic in the growing list of Kenyan athletes to be nabbed for failing to respect their whereabouts, the lasthaving been former Marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang.
“I would like to urge my fellow athletes both in Kenya and abroad to seriously take care of their own whereabouts to avoid unnecessary sanctions, it seems simple but a slight mistake can be costly at the end. It’s shameful,” Manangoi stated.