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NOCK DISOWNS LEGEND: Ill-treatment of sprints coach John Anzrah elicits strong reactions

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | August 13th 2016
Former Boston Marathon Champion and Olympic Team Captain Wesley Korir (Left standing) gives athletes grievances to Sport Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (Centre Right in cap) during the CS's visit to Team Kenya Olympic camp at the High Performance Training Centre in Eldoret. 12-07-2016. PHOTOS BY: KEVIN TUNOI

The misfortunes facing sprint coach John Anzrah, who allegedly presented himself as 800m medal prospect Ferguson Rotich, has brought to fore problems that Team Kenya face in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On Wednesday, Anzrah, who is a brother to football legend Joe Kadenge and former sprints queen Esther Kavaya, was sent home for “indiscipline” after he reportedly posed as an athlete.

Anzrah’s problems have elicited strong angry reactions from Kenyans and athletics coaches and managers are blaming the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK).

Kithinji Maragara, a Team Kenya athletics coach said NOCK exceeded the number of officials in “waiting list” in Rio.

“There are many Kenyans in the camp. In fact, we exceeded our quota and NOCK tried to accommodate some officials who missed rooms. So, they were waiting for Rugby 7’s teams to travel home for them to get rooms.

“Anzrah was a victim of this scenario despite having been named and accredited as sprint coach for Team Kenya,” said Maragara.

It started with Joseph Mosonik, the coach of world javelin champion Julius Yego, being left behind when the track and field squad left on August 7.

“Anzrah was forced to cater for himself and things went wrong for him when he went to the Athletes’ Village to cut down on some of his expenses,” said Maragara.

Barnabas Korir, the Athletics Kenya Executive member, has asked NOCK to publish the names of all officials in Rio “if they are serious.”

Stephen arap Soi, the Team Kenya Chief de Mission, said Anzrah conducted himself inappropriately and embarrassed Kenya.

Asked whether Anzrah had a valid accreditation, Soi said: “He was due for activation and I was forced to cancel the activation to safeguard the integrity and credibility of Team Kenya and to protect the interest of clean sport and our nation at large.”

But he did not explain why the coach was staying out of camp yet sprinters were in camp, and did respond when asked if NOCK can account for all those in camp to justify Anzrah’s exclusion.

Kipchoge Keino, the NOCK president said sprint coach Anzrah “presented himself” as 800m medal hope Ferguson Rotich and “even signed the documents” for the doping test. “We cannot tolerate such behaviour,” Keino said.

The athlete’s agent, Marc Corstjens of Golazo Sports Management, said Rotich lent Anzrah his pass so the coach could get free breakfast in the Olympic Village on Wednesday.

Anzrah, 61, was then allegedly approached by a doping control officer who was looking for Rotich and asked to provide a urine sample, which the coach did.

“Ferguson is completely confused as to why he would do this but the good news is that he found out straight away and went to the drug-tester and gave them blood and urine samples,” Corstjens said.

The International Olympic Committee praised Kenya’s Olympic body for its “swift action” but has opened disciplinary proceedings into the matter.

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