Doping: Athletes’ time raise eyebrows

Gold medalist Kenya's Jemima Jelagat Sumgong reacts during the podium ceremony for the Women's Marathon during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Sambodromo in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016. / AFP PHOTO Federicco Rosa, an Italian National at Kibera Law Courts in Nairobi where he is facing charges of conspiracy to cause injury by doping to the reputation and profession of Kenyan athletes.Presiding Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi ordered that he be released on Sh300,000 cash bail until 14th July 2016 to enable the prosecution conclude with investigations.PHOTO DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD}

Controversy:  Sumgong’s failure puts spotlight on Rosa e Associati and Public Prosecutor

Three of Rosas athletes have posted unusual improvement that has taken many by surprise

Dramatic improvement of time posted by three elite athletes, including under fire Jemimah Sumgong, has put pressure on their handlers even as the stable, Rosa e Associati, seek to distance itself from the Olympic champions’ failed dope test.

Sumgong, her training partners Rita Jeptoo (now serving a four-year ban) and Sarah Chepchirchir have all returned exponentially high time that have raised eyebrows in athletics circles.

Sumgong took up marathon in 2006 at age 21, running 2:35.00 to win the Las Vegas Marathon. According to records, from 2006 through 2012, she never ran faster than 2:28 across her first six career marathons.

In her next two career marathons, at age 28, she improved by almost eight minutes, running 2:23:27 to win 2013 Rotterdam Marathon, followed by 2:20:48 for second (behind Rita Jeptoo) at the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

She made another huge leap in 2016, winning the two most competitive marathons in the world — London and the Olympics.

Sumgong’s training partner and sister-in-law Sarah Chepchirchir, 32, stunned the world on February 26 this year by winning the Tokyo Marathon in 2:19:47, shaving a clean 5 minutes from her 2:24:13 recorded in Lisbon Portugal on October 2 last year, which had also dramatically lowered from 2:30 in her debut in Hamburg in April last year.

While their agents, Federico and Gabriel Rosa, of Rosa e Associati insist Sumgong’s case “really hurts everyone,” and pointed a finger at doctors.

Following Sumgong’s failed dope test, the Rosas said in a statement to international media: “Doping in Kenya has become a plague, because of unscrupulous Kenyans doctors who approach the athletes, brainwashing and subjecting them to illegal treatments.”

The statement further added: “Therefore, Rosa e Associati dissociates itself from any unsportsmanlike conduct and is offering its full co-operation to the authorities, serenely awaiting the reconstruction of the facts concerning Jemima Sumgong.”

The athletes’ managers distanced themselves saying, “Rosa e Associati rejects whatever conjecture concerning its involvement in the personal choices of the athletes it represents and will strongly protect its integrity whenever necessary.”

However, Norwegian Anti-Doping crusader Arve Bergan, in antidopingworld.wordpress.com, questioned how Dr. Gabriele Rosa was with the athletes twice per day and not able to understand they are doping.

Bergan also took to task the elder Rosa that he had lashed out at Rita Jeptoo’s former coach Claudio Beradelli for saying he had no idea the disgraced marathon runner was doping - a claim the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld that Jeptoo kept her doping hidden from the coach.

“Well Dr Rosa, we ask you the same question, “How are you with the athletes twice per day (sic) and not able to understand they are doping?”

Bergan charged: “Gabriele and Federico Rosa, it’s time to tell the truth. Either admit you’ve been asleep? at the wheel while your athletes have doped with impunity or admit that you helped facilitate it?”

While Kenyan officials and coaches have maintained loud silence citing IAAF procedures and the outcome of Sample B should Sumgong seek retest, questions abound how the case against the Rosas were terminated.

The State on November 22 last year terminated a doping case against Italian athletics agent Federico Rosa even before the trial started raising questions on the Government’s commitment to fight the vice.

A prosecutor told a Kibera court that the he Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that the case be withdrawn under Section 87A of the criminal procedure code.

Rosa was initially formally charged with six counts related to doping and ruining the reputations of two Kenyan athletes.

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