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Off the line and out of the blocks, the doping question gets asked. It seems unfair, but it’s the new order of things.

So, is this Kenyan athlete clean? Are any?

With a record number of Kenyan athletes serving suspensions for either doping, tampering, blood value anomalies, or whereabouts failures, every Kenyan performance is now eyed with suspicion. It is sad that Kenyan race results are viewed with the same doubt as Russian performances — the end of the line of athletics innocence if you will.

Priscah Jeptoo, as far as Athletics Illustrated knows, has not tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Casting doubt on her seems unjust, that is until will take a closer examination.

First off, let’s look at her (former?) agent, Italian Frederico Rosa. He was suspended from coaching in Kenya by Athletics Kenya when at least three of his athletes tested positive for PEDs including Wilson Kipsang and Rita Jeptoo (not related).

In April 2015, Athletics Kenya’s president Isaiah Kiplagat told the press, “you are aware that at the beginning of the year, we announced that any manager who has more than three athletes testing positive for drugs will have their licenses revoked.”

At the time, Kipsang’s name was a big deal. He had run the Berlin Marathon in 2016 in the time of 2:03:13. At least four times he had run in the 2:03s. He held the world record at one point. In 2013, he clocked a 2:03:23 to improve Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie’s record run of 2:03:59, done also at Berlin.

It wasn’t until January 2020 that he was suspended, so, there may be no link to Rosa, however, he was near to marathon running a decade ago as Eliud Kipchoge is to the sport today — the very best.

He won London three times, Frankfurt, Berlin, Honolulu, Tokyo, and several others. When he was suspended it rocked the athletics community.

Rita Jeptoo was also suspended. Rosa refused to reveal what the athlete tested positive for, as it turned out it was EPO, the red blood cell booster.

She won Boston three times, however, her course record is annulled, when she ran 2:18:57 in 2014, as is her 2014 defense of the Chicago Marathon where she clocked a 2:24:35. Jeptoo won those Boston efforts as well as Chicago twice, Lisbon, Paris, Stockholm, and Milan.

In 2016 Rosa was suspended (in Kenya) from representing athletes. However, he continues to represent some of the very best.

Kenyan Asbel Kiprop the world’s best 1500m runner at the time had come to Rosa’s defense. Kiprop was known for his strong anti-doping stance. Two years later Kiprop would be suspended for doping. His PED of choice? EPO. He is a 23-time Diamond League winner and Olympic gold medallist.

Jemima Sumgong, another Kenyan busted, was a two-time London Marathon winner. She was suspended for EPO use. She also won Rotterdam and is the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist. She was suspended for four years.

Frederico Rosa learned his agency craft from his father a cardiologist who was heavily involved in the sport of athletics. Together they have the agency, Rosa and Associati.

Currently, there are approximately 70 Kenyan athletes suspended for various reasons related to PEDs. This is the most in the world, next to Russia, which continues to serve a blanket ban for systematic doping. Is it time for Kenya, like Russia, to be suspended?

In April this year, Priscah Jeptoo, ran the Hamburg Marathon in the time of 2:28:48. In 2019, she clocked a 2:24:16 in Valencia — the event offers a fast course. Her personal best is 2:20:14 from 2013 in London where she finished first, the year before, she ran London one second faster and finished third. These performances happened before super shoes.

It will be interesting to see the results of her performance at the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon this Sunday.

In fairness, there are no red flags on her recent performances as she competes into her late 30s. Some national records have been set recently by athletes around the age of 40. Additionally, there is no indication that she is associated with the Rosas now.

However, it is concerning that the world half-marathon record holder Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda (57:31), world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18 PB, second fastest all-time), world record holder Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) among others are represented by this company.

The current list of represented athletes is amazing: https://www.rosassociati.it/atleti/ and includes suspended drug cheat, Nijel Amos who was provisionally banned in July this year by the Athletics Integrity Unit. He tested positive for GW1516, a banned hormone and metabolic modulator not approved for use in humans.

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