© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated
According to the publication, Athletics News, a senior official speaking anonymously knows that a Kenyan ban has already been agreed to.
The publication wrote: Our source a senior official at Athletics Kenya, on condition of anonymity request told Athletics.co.ke, “From where I seat and the information am getting directly from AIU top officials, it’s a done case.” We are at their mercies as from now and we should prepare ourselves for the worse which is being suspended for a minimum of two years or a maximum of three years, so that we can put our house in order,” he said.
The senior official said that there are many top elite athletes that AIU is on their radar and soon they will be unmasked and this will be the end of their running careers.
“Many athletes and the country at large will be affected and it will be an expensive affair that will cost jobs and many lives will be affected directly and indirectly,” he said.
Who are the top athletes?
The question is, who are the top athletes that the AIU and World Athletics (WA) have on their radar?
Eliud Kipchoge is believed to be the golden child of athletics and few believe he would be banned (is he protected?). However, three of his pacers or training partners who have helped him achieve his world-leading times have been suspended. It’s ironic that Kipchoge has said that people who drink alcohol are bad, but has not spoken out against the dopers around him.
Athletics Illustrated has reached out to Jos Hermens, the manager of NN Running Team and Global Sports Communications based in the Netherlands. He has failed to respond. In his stable are the likes of Kipchoge, Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele, Letesenbet Gidey, and Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei among several other top-rated athletes.
Gidey currently holds the world records in the 5000m (14:06.62), 10,000m (29:01.03), and the half marathon (62:52). The 24-year-old is expected to run the Valencia Marathon in her debut at the distance on December 4. Several requests for interviews have gone unanswered. She is not Kenyan, but due to her association with NN Running, will she lay low in Valencia?
The 26-year-old Cheptegei holds world records in the 5000m (12:35.36), 10,000m (26:11.00), and world best in the 15K (41:05).
Gidey’s marathon debut is highly anticipated as she is expected to challenge the current world record held by Brigid Kosgei at 2:14:04. Some speculate that Gidey has the ability to run 2:12.
Kenyans calling out Kenyans
First, it was former marathon great Tegla Laroupe and then Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba calling out fellow countrymen for doping, Julius Yego, the Kenyan javelin great has also called out dopers from within Kenya.
Yego was speaking with BBC Sport Africa on November 22, when he said, “Whoever is indulging in these drugs should be ashamed of himself or herself. We should raise our voices and create awareness. If we do not speak up, then we are going [down] a very dangerous path. Then Kenya will be nowhere in athletics.”
Kenyans calling out foreign coaches and agents
In April 2015, Athletics Kenya suspended Rosa Associati, an agency that represented 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 drug 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 a 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.
In 2013, Athletics Kenya’s president Isaiah Kiplagat blamed foreign coaches for the doping issues instead of taking responsibility. He announced that all non-registered coaches have one week to leave Kenya. He was partially correct in his assertions.
During the summer of 2018, the first WADA-approved laboratory in Nairobi was set up. It was a move hailed as a major development for the region’s doping crisis.
Shortly after, several more positive test results happened including Samuel Kalalei winner of the 2017 Athens Marathon, that November, tested positive for EPO. Sprinter Boniface Mweresa was removed from the Kenyan team after he failed a doping test. Former Commonwealth Games 10,000-metre gold medallist Lucy Kabuu was suspended by the AIU for failing a doping test announced on Aug. 4. 2018.
Apparently, in the year 2022, a record 30 Kenyans have been suspended, while up to 70 have been sanctioned over the past two to three years. These numbers would decimate any other nation’s athletics programs.
Apparently, the meeting between the AIU, WA, and Athletics Kenya has been moved to Tuesday, November 29, from the original date published of Friday, Nov. 25.
The fallout may be catastrophic for Kenyan dopers and enablers.