In April 2015, Athletics Kenya suspended Rosa Associati, an agency that represents more than 30 world-class athletes. The purpose was to run an apparent six-month doping investigation. This all came on the heels of the famous Rita Jeptoo positive drugs test.
Jeptoo had won the Boston, Paris, Chicago, Stockholm and Milan marathons. She “won” Boston three times and Chicago twice, but was disqualified for her 2014 wins at Boston and Chicago due to the positive test.
Six months later, Rosa Associati terminated agent Claudio Berardelli, stating that three of his athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Or what was unsaid was either AK demanded Frederico Rosa do something or Rosa, in a desperate act of self-preservation, threw Berardelli under the proverbial bus. Either way, he was the fall guy and Jeptoo’s agent.
One also cannot help wonder if Rosa Associati terminated Berardelli not because his athletes were taking performance-enhancing drugs, but because they got caught, risking having their agency getting further suspensions.
Rosa has been associated with several athletes that have tested positive. What is their motivation to associate themselves with an apparent enabler of cheating?
Arguably the best coach in decades, Renato Canova, had the best of the best – a large stable of thoroughbreds that he coached from Kenya and not just Kenyans, but Ethiopians and Bahrainis and others.
He was well known for his preposterous claim that EPO does not work on East African athletes.
Did Canova see the writing on the wall? In January of that year, he vacated Kenya for China, leaving one final bastion of apparent lawlessness to a potentially secret training environment where he would be protected by the Chinese government if need be.
Two weeks later AK came down on the following athletes: Julius Kiprono Mutai, Elizabeth Chelagat, Flomena Jebet Chepchirchir, Philip Kandie, Emily Perpetua Chepkorir, Stephen Kibet Tanui, Alice Ndirangu and James Maunga Nyankabaria.
In November of that year, Emily Chebet, Joyce Zakary and Koki Manunga, who failed drugs tests at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August were suspended for four years.
They tested positive for furosemide.
That brought the total to 43 of the number of Kenyan athletes to have been banned for drugs, nearly half of them that year.
Today, it was announced by AK that one of, if not the greatest all-time middle distance runner Asbel Kiprop had tested positive for EPO.
The 28-year-old is a living legend. He owns three gold medals from the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, and an Olympic gold.
His personal bests are 800-metre 1:43.18, 1500-metre 3:26.69, 1609-metres (mile) 3:48.50 and 3,000-metres 7:42.32.
His agent is Frederico Rosa.