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KENYA-GERMANY ‘WAR’: German TV ‘expose’ poisons Kenya’s relations with Deutschland

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | June 16th 2016
(L-R) Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi and Germany's Gesa Felicitas Krause compete in the final of the women's 3000 metres steeplechase athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTE

When Hans-Joachim Seppelt of ARD, a nationwide German TV and radio broadcasting network, fired the first salvo in 2012 accusing Kenyan athletes of doping, few eyebrows were raised.

Grumbles and murmurs reverberated around the country. A lull followed. Not for long, however. Seppelt returned last year for another round, painting Kenya as among the dirtiest nations in doping.

Seppelt said then: “They use it (doping)... because they need to use it because they need it to succeed and to go to major competitions internationally.” Seppelt reportedly spent time undercover in Kenya posing as a sports agent. The accusation by ARD was seismic, triggering action from the athletics governing body, IAAF, who sent top officials to Kenya to look into allegations that doctors were supplying athletes with performance-enhancing drugs in exchange for a percentage of their earnings.

The chain of events that would follow saw Kenya forced to enact laws that would curb the killer vice of doping.

And after several twists, turns and slips, Kenya finally enacted the Anti-Doping Act 2016 this month that effectively makes the athletics powerhouse compliant with World Anti-Doping Agency’s code. But even before the ink assenting to the law has dried, the men from Deutschland are on Kenya’s neck.

This time, German Athletics Federation (DLV) has written to International Olympic Committee asking for Kenyan athletes to be barred from Rio Olympics due to doping concerns.

The call has touched off outrage from Kenya with the National Olympic Committee President Kipchoge Keino describing Germany’s call as mere “jealousy.”

“It is wrong for Germans to call for Kenya to be barred from Rio when we have offered its athletes training facilities in Kenya. To make it worse, some agents suspected to be encouraging doping among Kenyan athletes are Germans,” Keino said.

Top German athletes train in Kenya, with Beijing world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Krause Felicitas Gesa pitching tent in Iten. One of the German’s top athlete has planted a tree in a hotel in Iten, where they conduct their pre-Olympics preparations.

British top athletes who also train in Iten include; double Olympic and four-time world champion Mo Farah, world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, 2012 World Indoor 800m bronze medallist Andrew Osagie, 2011 world 1,500m silver medallist Hannah England and Michael Rimmer, the 2010 European 800m silver medallist.

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