Nairobi News

NewsSportsWhat's Hot

Jeptoo doping hearing begins

Disgraced Kenyan drugs cheat Rita Jeptoo, once considered the world’s top female distance runner, arrived in Nairobi on Thursday for a hearing to find out how long she will be banned from the sport.

Jeptoo was busted for using the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO during an out-of-competition drugs test last year and faces a suspension of at least two years plus the loss of a string of recent titles.

She kept her eyes to the ground and made no comment to reporters as she entered the Athletics Kenya headquarters in Nairobi, where she will be under pressure from national officials to come clean and spill the beans on how she acquired and was administered the drug.

Athletics Kenya has also called in Jeptoo’s manager Federico Rosa and coach Claudio Berardelli, both of whom have distanced themselves from the scandal.

Her estranged husband Noah Busienei — who has implicated Jeptoo in doping offences dating back to 2011 — has also been called to testify.

Jeptoo, 33, the winner of the last two consecutive Boston and Chicago marathons, is expected to face a two-year ban — although sports bosses could choose to impose a new mandatory four-year ban that came into force from January 1.

She has already been denied the $500,000 (about Sh45 million) prize for winning the last World Marathon Majors series, and may also be forced to pay back other prize money that has already been paid out.

“We are hoping the hearing will shed light on who is behind this doping scam, and Jeptoo should be able to spill the beans,” Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said ahead of the hearing.

Kenya’s sports bosses have been accused of inaction on the doping issue, which has cast a shadow over the record-breaking and medal-winning achievements of its fabled distance runners.

They have blamed the current crisis on dishonest foreign agents and managers who are “corrupting” Kenyan runners.

Jeptoo is the biggest name in Kenyan athletics to have been busted for cheating, and the scandal has cast a shadow over the astonishing achievements of the east African distance running powerhouse.