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May we borrow from David’s lament of Saul and Jonathan from 1611? “The beauty of the elite is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen.” That would be none other than Zane Robertson, the distance runner quick to tattle on Kenyans about doping back in 2015 and 2016. His mouth got him in trouble, which resulted in him being threatened with necklacing torture.

Necklacing is the act of taking a car tire, putting it over a person’s head and lighting it on fire.

Instead of leaving Kenya, the New Zealander stayed. He began a doping regimen of untold volumes — who knows? But he was caught and handed an eight-year doping ban. And then he got his hands on an AK47 automatic assault rifle. The Russian-made weapon is known also as Avtomat Kalashnikova — a gas-operated assault rifle. Perhaps his neck was on the line.

The Standard publication in Kenya reported, “Zane Robertson, 33, a New Zealand middle and long-distance athlete, was arrested on Wednesday evening after police discovered an AK-47 rifle and 23 rounds of ammunition in his house on the outskirts of Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Keiyo North sub-county police commander Tom Makori said a woman had reported the New Zealander for sexually assaulting her during a house party on Tuesday.”

Statement from New Zealand Olympic Committee when he was banned

The New Zealand Olympic Committee responds to the two four-year bans received by distance runner Zane Robertson today:

“The offences committed by Zane Robertson are deeply disappointing and his actions go against everything the New Zealand Team stands for.

“We condemn all forms of doping. Every athlete has the right to compete on an even playing field and Robertson’s actions have undermined the integrity of sport.

“We thank Drug-Free Sport New Zealand for their commitment to supporting the New Zealand athletes who are proud to compete cleanly. We also acknowledge Athletics NZ, DFSNZ and HPSNZ for extending wellbeing support to Robertson.”

Nicki Nicol, CEO and Secretary General, New Zealand Olympic Committee.

Robertson and twin brother Jake

The twin brother’s story is well known. It was widely reported that the two left the home that they grew up in when they were 17 years old. They went to Kenya and began training seriously for middle and long-distance running. Jake has stayed out of trouble, is married has a family and continues to live in Kenya.

Zane eventually went on to run a marathon best of 2:08:19 in 2019 on the Gold Coast. It is the national record of New Zealand, however, now is questionable considering his doping bust. The 33-year-old holds three Oceania bests over 10K, 10 miles and the half-marathon which he ran as fast as 59:47. He earned a bronze medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 5000m clocking a 13:16.52. His personal best is 13:13.83.

Brother Jake holds very similar personal bests including running the marathon in 2:08:26, 5000m in 13:15.54 and the half-marathon in 59:58. Does Zane’s behaviour implicate Jake at all? Either the doping does implicate Jake or Zane didn’t dope for long and is naturally capable of these performances.

For Jake, many horrible things emerged from Pandora’s Box. The last thing to come out was hope. For his sake, he should hope that he is not implicated and or targeted due to his brother’s behaviour. At age 33, perhaps it would be wise to move back to New Zealand.