© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

Disgraced Kenyan marathon runner Rita Jeptoo’s coach Claudio Berardelli has had his contract terminated by his employers for having yet another Kenyan athlete fail a doping test. So far the coach has had three athletes fail tests including marathoners Mathew Kisorio and Jeptoo, and most recently 800-metre runner Agatha Jeruto, whose four-year ban for the anabolic steroid agent Norandrosterone was announced by the IAAF and Athletics Kenya last week.

Jeptoo failed drug tests and was suspended in January by Athletics Kenya for two years. She had to forfeit $500,000 that she initially won during the two-year overlapping annual competition, of the World Marathon Majors.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently announced in their new anti-doping code that first time suspensions can now move from two years to four years. Also, WADA can use discretion of leniency towards an athlete who tests positive for performance enhancing drugs or have anomalies in their Athlete Biological Passport if they provide information about drug cheats, which can include doctors, agents, coaches and other athletes.

Frederico Rosa, who worked with Berardelli with the company name Rosa and Associati, said he did not believe Berardelli was involved in any doping but “wasn’t on top” of the issue at his training camp in Kenya.

“We do not say that Claudio is involved in the problem, and we know he has nothing to do with it, but (he) was not able to pay enough attention to his own athletes,” Rosa said.

The company operated five Kenyan training camps but are so far the only athletes that have been caught by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Kenya, a distance-running powerhouse for decades, has been hit hard in recent years by doping with over 30 athletes banned.

Rosa & Associati and another European-based athlete agency, Volare Sports, were suspended by local authorities from working in Kenya for six months in April pending investigations following Jeptoo’s case. Those investigations should be completed by the end of this month, AK chief executive Isaac Mwangi said. Both agencies, which represent some of Kenya’s top stars, deny any involvement in doping.

ARD/WRD Television of Germany and lead journalist Hajo Seppelt were the first to open the case of potential widespread doping going on in Kenya. Since then, they have exposed apparent systematic doping going on in Russia, as well as bribery scandals within the IAAF to do with awarding large scale competitions to Doha, Qatar and other locations.