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Sports

Kenyan Police Search Agents' Hotel Rooms at Olympic Trials

The two athletic agents previously represented Rita Jeptoo, a high-profile Kenyan marathon runner who was later sanctioned for doping

In this Monday, April 17, 2006, file photo Rita Jeptoo of Kenya holds the trophy after winning the women's division of the 110th running of the Boston Marathon, in Boston, photo: AP/Elise Amendola
1 year ago

Police investigating doping searched the hotel rooms of two Italian athlete managers during the Kenyan Olympic trials, and questioned the two men at police headquarters on Monday, one of the managers told The Associated Press.

The agents, Federico Rosa and his father, Gabriele, represent a number of top Kenyan athletes and previously represented marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, one of the highest-profile Kenyans to be banned for doping.

The police “never found anything” when they searched their hotel rooms on Friday in Eldoret, where the trials were held, Federico Rosa said in a phone interview. He said he and his father were never under arrest, and they were unsure what the investigation was about.

Rosa said they had been asked to remain in Kenya and would be told on Tuesday if they were needed for more questioning.

Police did not immediately comment on the investigation, but the chief executive of Kenya’s anti-doping agency said it had handed over information to Kenya’s CID, a top police investigative unit, which then conducted the room searches on the final day of Kenya’s trials in the remote western town of Eldoret. The CID also questioned the two men on Monday at its headquarters in the capital, Nairobi.

“When we have any information, we share with the CID and the matter is now with them,” said Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya chief executive Japhter Rugut. He said he couldn’t comment in detail on the investigation.

Kenya’s national anti-doping body could not handle the investigation itself because it is currently suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Rosas’ agency, Rosa & Associati, was one of two foreign management companies banned from working in Kenya for six months last year pending an investigation. Kenyan authorities had said they suspected foreign agents were responsible for providing banned substances to athletes, but the authorities didn’t present any findings from their investigation.

Federico Rosa has denied any knowledge of or involvement in doping in Jeptoo’s case, or any other. Jeptoo, the world’s top women’s marathon runner at the time, tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in a test in Kenya in 2014. She was banned for two years.

Dozens of other Kenyan athletes have also been banned for doping since the last Olympics in 2012, and Kenya’s entire drug-testing program was suspended by WADA for failing to meet global standards.

At one point, Kenyan athletes were in danger of missing next month’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the doping problems.

Last week’s Olympic trials featured global stars like 800-meter Olympic champion and world-record holder David Rudisha, and Asbel Kiprop, the three-time world champion in the 1,500 meters. Kiprop is one of the athletes currently represented by the Rosas. He has not been implicated in any doping.

Authorities promised strict doping controls at the trials with the country’s reputation as a distance-running powerhouse under scrutiny following years of drug scandals.

GERALD IMRAY

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