© Copyright – 2020 – Athletics Illustrated
Ruth Jebet, a Kenyan turned Bahraini at 16, earned money, much more than she could ever earn in Kenya to run for her new country. Then she doped and won the 2016 Rio Olympic 3,000m steeplechase event, which earned her another 500,000USD – a massive fortune for a Kenyan.
The Kenyans bristle when the athletes do that. Not the doping – no, the turncoating to another country.
The competition within Kenya is so deep, highly talented, hard-working and doped athletes may never get the opportunity to race for their country.
The motivation to leave is huge; the motivation that they feel to dope is an urge that an athlete from a G8 nation cannot relate to.
Jebet did it and the long arm of the law reached back to those Rio Olympics and found that she had taken EPO. She fought hard to defend herself, but in the end, she admitted to doping.
Banned for four years, the 23-year-old tested positive in February 2018. She failed an out-of-competition test. Since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has stepped up the out-of-competition testing in Kenya, the positive test results have skyrocketed. There are approximately 50 Kenyan or former Kenyans running for another country, suspended or provisionally suspended.
Jebet, at first, said that she took EPO unintentionally, which gives pause for running fans to wonder, what needle was she intentionally putting into her body?
Jebet is the former world record holder in the event. She won Rio in the time of 8:59.75. She won by near eight full seconds over Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya (9:07.12) and American Emma Coburn (9:07.63).
It is assumed that Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya should move up from fourth place to third at 9:16.05. If she is clean or not found out.
The Olympic qualification standards are set against these unrealistic Olympic performances. For those who choose not to cheat; they have no chance of winning.
Two years later, Chepkoech shaved eight seconds off the women’s world record winning the Diamond League Monaco race in 8:44.32.
One can bet that Chepkoech’s samples will be re-tested. Ethiopians and Moroccans should not rest easy, as they may be the next target in the scopes of WADA and the AIU.