Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) today confirmed it has been investigating allegations that Athletics Kenya officials were complicit in covering up Kenyan doping since March 2015, but said that its Code of Ethics had previously prevented it from revealing that the investigation was taking place. However, allegations that Kenyan officials were complicit in hiding doping date back to 2012.
“The IAAF can confirm that an IAAF staff member referred allegations of the covering up of doping in Kenya to the IAAF Ethics Commission in the spring (March) of 2015”, an IAAF spokesperson told the Sports Integrity Initiative. “In accordance with the current procedures under the Code of Ethics, the usual practice of the Ethics Commission is not to comment until its investigations are concluded”.
As previously reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative, the IAAF changed its Code of Ethics on 6 November, which allowed its Ethics Committee to disclose that an investigation is taking place. This allowed it to reveal that it had been investigating allegations that Russian sporting officials had colluded with IAAF officials to cover up Russian doping since at least April 2014. In July 2013, the Mail on Sunday passed the details of its own investigation on to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which passed the information “to the relevant people”.
When ARD published its documentary into systemic Russian doping in December 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said that it had ‘already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary. All of that information has been passed to the appropriate independent body within the international federation, the IAAF. We will await the outcome of that independent body’s deliberations.’ The IAAF were aware of the situation in Russia in March 2014, and may have been aware earlier, due to the information received by the IOC from the Mail on Sunday, and by WADA ahead of ARD’s December 2014 documentary.
However, the allegations of collusion between Kenyan athletes and officials go back to a 2012 documentary produced by Hajo Seppelt – the same journalist behind the December 2014 documentary into systemic Russian doping. A four-part documentary entitled Poisoned Spikes (video below) on Kenya Citizen TV in April this year confirmed that the same issues originally identified in 2012 appear to be persisting.
“In 2012, Athletics Kenya’s President, Isaiah Kiplagat [pictured, centre], was claiming that the evidence presented in ARD German TV was not based on real facts”, Seppelt told the Sports Integrity Initiative at the time. “In 2015 it looks like the situation is even worse than we believed three years ago. That Athletics Kenya was not aware of this is not credible.” Kiplagat’s denial is featured in this excerpt from Kenya Citizen TV below.
Given that the 9 November WADA Independent Commission report found that the IAAF and the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) conspired to hide Russian doping, the IAAF is likely to face questions over why its Ethics Commission failed to take any action on the Kenyan allegations for three years. An IAAF Council meeting is scheduled for 26 November, where the IAAF is expected to announce details on the progress of its investigation into Kenya.
Athletics Kenya has denied accusations that its officials were complicit in hiding doping; and documentary evidence from ARD’s August documentary (available to view below), which suggests that officials siphoned money from a sponsorship contract with Nike. “AK are not aware of any investigations by the police of allegations of extortion by our members”, it said in a statement provided to the Evening Standard. “We welcome any such information. AK have no information on any of the above and there are no suspensions on any AK personnel in regards to the matters mentioned.”
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