Athletics agent, Federico Rosa now claims he cut links with marathoner Rita Jeptoo because of her actions and baseless defense after a positive test for EPO exposed her as a cheat.
In an interview with the BBC, the Italian track agent who operates under the Rosa & Associati camp wants the Kenyan authorities to investigate and expose doctors and coaches whom he believes are behind the latest doping cases.
Asked why he had severed links with the two-time Boston and Chicago marathon winner who tested positive for blood doping, Rosa was categorical:
“Because she cheated. EPO is not by a mistake. I am convinced it is not a mistake,” Rosa said.
The 33-year-old‘s positive test rocked the sport. She is one of about 30 local runners who have failed doping tests over the last five years.
“I spoke to her two days later she said it was malaria, a story that I had heard before, but it didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t believe her explanations,” said Rosa who manages tens of Kenyan athletes including reigning world champions Asbel Kiprop (1500m) and Eunice Sum (800).
Jeptoo who was on the verge of bagging the world marathon majors tested positive in an out-of-competition test in Iten last September.
She requested a second test, which also returned a positive test in December. Athletics Kenya medical commission is expected to meet and agree on the dates for the hearing later in the month.
Jeptoo is likely to be handed a two-year ban, a reprieve of sorts after the World Anti doping Agency announced new rules effective January 1, that will see drug cheats in the sport face a minimum four-year ban. This is not the first high positive test in Rosa’s stables.
Two years ago Kenyan Mathew Kisorio failed a test soon after German Television ARD alleged there was widespread doping in the country.
Botswana sprinter Amantle Montsho who failed a doping test during the Commonwealth Games was also attached to the Rosa camp founded by Gabriel Rosa, Federico’s father. These associations weigh heavy on the camp.
“It is one of the most difficult period of my life as we have been clean and have had a high reputation all our life. Of course there are people that are hoping for us to fall down because we have been successful. People want to take this opportunity to blame us. We have changed the history of athletics in Kenya, pushed athletes to go from track to marathon,” he claimed adding that Kisorio had publicly said he had worked with a local doctor.
“People who know the sport know that we have nothing to do with it.” He hopes that the Government, which is expected to begin setting up a national antidoping agency this year, can reveal those behind the recent spike in positive cases.
Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat threatened to summon and deregister agents who will be found to have the highest number of athletes who have breached the doping rules.
But Rosa believes the problem lies with the unscrupulous coaches and doctors.
“It is important for her (Jeptoo) and Kenya to find people who have cheated after this doping situation. We need absolutely to help the country to clean up the situation and the bad reputation that people are trying to get us in.”