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KENYANS BANNED: Malaysia suspends four even as CAA defends Kenyan runners

ATHLETICS By Omulo Okoth | August 12th 2015
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya celebrates after winning the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Even as the doping scourge continues to put Kenyan athletes in global focus, some four more, albeit little known, Kenyans have been indefinitely banned from taking part in road races in Malaysia following claims of failed doping tests.

In a letter copied to all athletics federations all over the world, the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) took the unusual step to suspend the four Kenyans because, they said, previous orders to bar them from the Asian nation were not implemented.

The four are Geoffrey Birgen, Charles Thaiya Kimingi, Peter Kipleting Keter and Peninah Jepkoech Kigen. “During a meeting together with Dato Karim, S. Chinathamby, Datuk Vegiyathuman, Rainer Beimans and Murugesu some time ago, the issue of cheating by foreign runners in marathon races especially from Kenya was broadly discussed,” says the letter.

“Apparently, it was also unanimously agreed affirmative action must be taken to bar these runners from competing in all future races, so as a punishment which will keep away those runners having these intentions.

“Although it was agreed, it seems no serious action has been taken, by the State associations, which has resulted in some of these runners still being allowed to participate and grab the prizes.

“Along with this letter are attached police reports of some cheating cases during the last SCKLM for your reference,” said the letter.

“”MAF is viewing this problem seriously and as such wish to inform all state associations that the following foreign runners are suspended from taking opart in all future road races in Malaysia with immediate effect.

The duration of suspension to be imposed on them will be discussed at the next Council meeting and accordingly notify those involved,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) has become the latest organisation to hit out at the recent doping allegations to plague the sport, claiming “immense damage” has been caused to their athletes and that they are “disturbed” a lot of them are aimed at Kenyan athletes, adds Liam Morgan.

The Sunday Times and ARD reported they were given access to the results of more than 12,000 blood tests conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) between 2001 and 2012, which they claimed showed more than 800 athletes, including many from Kenya, had given blood samples that were “highly suggestive” of doping or “abnormal”.

The news caused IAAF to brand the allegations as “sensationalist” before they accused ARD and Sunday Times scientists of “seriously incorrect assertions”.

In a statement responding to the claims, CAA, which is led by Cameroon’s Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, a member of the IAAF’s ruling Council, also lambasted the two media outlets for not treating African athletes in an ethical manner and slammed the press for a lack of consistency.

“The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) is disturbed that allegations have been aimed against athletes from African countries, like Kenya, when the overwhelming majority of athletes have never tested positive for any banned substance,” the statement sent to insidethegames read.

“Such sensationalistic journalism paints all athletes from these countries, and indeed the continent’s athletes, with a black brush.”

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