Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Ethics Board of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has confirmed that it is still investigating Major Michael Rotich, former manager of Kenya’s Rio 2016 track and field delegation, raising questions over why UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has concluded its Kenyan investigations. Rotich was provisionally suspended after alleging that British Doping Control Officers (DCOs) could provide him with advance notice of when doping tests would take place.
‘The position is that the Ethics Board’s investigation is ongoing and Major Rotich currently remains suspended from positions within Athletics Kenya and the IAAF’, wrote an IAAF Ethics Board spokesperson in an email. An investigation by The Sunday Times and ARD found that he had colluded with Eldoret pharmacist Joseph Mwangi to give athletics coaches based in the Eldoret/Kapsabet region advance notice of when doping tests would take place.
In the investigation’s original video, Rotich said that two British DCOs who work in Kenya would be able to supply him with planned test details. “They have a list that says: ‘I’m going to test so and so’”, he said. When contacted by ARD/Sunday Times, Rotich claimed that he played along with the Spring 2016 operation in order to provide information to the authorities. However, it is understood that he did not provide that information to the authorities.
UKAD told the Mail on Sunday that in August, it had closed its investigation into allegations that three British athletes had been supplied with erythropoietin (EPO). It is understood that Mwangi, doctor Samson Talei and Ken Kipchumba, a clinical officer at St. Luke’s hospital in Eldoret, who was filmed claiming to have supplied 50 European athletes with EPO, are subject to criminal charges in Kenya relating to the supply of prohibited substances to athletes.
The fact that the IAAF is still investigating whether Rotich utilised corrupt British DCOs to provide advance notice of when tests would take place raises questions as to why UKAD has concluded its investigation, as does the fact that the three men concerned are subject to criminal charges in Kenya. UKAD told the Mail on Sunday that it had ended its investigation after concluding that documentation relating to the British athletes had been faked. The Sports Integrity Initiative asked UKAD how it came to that conclusion.
In an email, a UKAD spokesperson said that the agency ‘cannot provide answers to your specific questions’, but provided a statement from UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead, which was also provided to the Mail on Sunday. “Following evidence presented to UK Anti-Doping by The Sunday Times last year, we opened an investigation into allegations that, potentially, British athletes were obtaining and using banned substances in Kenya. This involved sending UKAD investigators over to Kenya who worked closely with the Kenyan Police and the Kenyan Anti-Doping Agency.
“We understand that criminal charges have been brought against a number of individuals by the Kenyan Police. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further on that aspect of this matter. We will be looking at the outcome of the case closely and expect the Kenyan authorities to share any relevant information with us.
“UKAD can confirm that our investigation has now concluded with no further action for UK Anti-Doping to pursue, unless or until new evidence comes to light. If anyone has any new credible evidence we strongly urge them to come forward to us in strict confidence.
“Our international work is a crucial part of our efforts to protect clean sport. We have jurisdiction over British athletes wherever they compete or train in the world and we often test athletes in overseas locations.”
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