Cherono, Sum lead athletes' protests over Italian agent,coach prosecution

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jul 18, 2016
  • Asbel Kiprop(left), Mercy Cherono and Eunice Sum are managed by the Rosa Associati camp.(Photo:SNA File)

Runners converged at Athletics Kenya, AK, headquarters to protest the prosecution of agent Federico Rosa and coach and Claudio Berardelli over doping related offences.

The over 100 athletes from their North Rift camp arrived in vans and were joined by former world champion Eunice Sum and Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medalist Mercy Cherono who had just jetted back home from Monaco for the ninth leg of the IAAF Diamond League.

This happened as a Nairobi court rejected an application filed by Rosa to have his passport released to facilitate his travel to the Olympics.

Nairobi’s Kibera Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi released Rosa on a Ksh. 500,000 bond and two sureties each of the same amount.

Ochoi said the court will review the decision once Rosa has produced evidence that he manages 10 of the team of 50 Kenyans currently preparing for Rio Olympics.

The runners led by Paris marathon champion Cyprian Kotut said the authorities were intimidating the Italians and yet AK was silent.

“We are here to know why the local athletics governing body, AK is mum on this issue since Claudio and Rosa were arrested and arraigned in court,” they said.

However, there were no AK officials to meet them. The athletes instead gathered and addressed the press at the Riadha House compound.

The athletes said AK should come out clear and declare the Association's stand instead of keeping quiet and also ensure that this matter is settled once and for all.

Plot by local agents 

The runners alleged there is a plot by local agents to set up Berardelli and Rosa so that they can take over runners from their stables.

Last week AK released a statement said they had read of the arrests of the agent and coach whom they have cleared to work with Kenyan athletes in the press and urged the Kenya Police to treat the case with ‘utmost professionalism and make public all the charges against Rosa Associati’ and share their findings to avoid speculations.

They defended the Italians against any wrongdoing saying there was foul play in the whole saga being orchestrated by rival managers to discredit the duo for their own personal gains.

“Rosa has been in the country for 25 years and Beradelli for ten and what they have done is assisting the country gain glory and not destroying athletes whom they’ve spent a lot time and money nurturing into stars. They deserve accolades,” they said.

Kotut said he feared that issue may affect Kenya’s performance at the Rio Olympics given that the duo have a good number of medal prospective athletes in the Kenyan contingent.

“That was manifested in the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco where Asbel Kiprop, Eunice Sum and Mercy Cherono failed to win because those stress of having their coach and manager in the dock."

Cherono said they could be distracted and affected psychologically ahead of the Olympics slated for August 5-22.

Sum and Cherono said their coach was not in a good state of mind and may not give his best and were worried it may affect their performances in Rio.

They wondered why the investigators were ignoring an affidavit by middle distance double junior Africa champion Mathew Kisorio.

In his affidavit, Kisorio claimed that someone was out to fix the Rosa Associati camp.

Kisorio who has been previously banned for using performance enhancing substances also absolved the Italian coach from any involvement involvement in doping activities.

The athletes implored to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to intervene before the situation gets out of hand which may affect Kenya’ medal prospects in the Olympic Games.