Koros spoiling for a fight as he claims doping accusation was a fabrication

Kahawa Barack's Collins Koros wins 10KM men category at 2021 KDF Track and Field Championship at Nyayo National stadium.  [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

An athlete who was provisionally suspended last year over alleged anti-doping rule violation has said he will not take the matter lying down.

Collins Koros has also trained his guns on some Athletics Kenya (AK) officials, promising a battle royale at the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) and in court.

Koros was suspended barely 12 hours before Team Kenya left the country for 2023 World Cross Country championships in Bathurst, Australia.

The suspended athlete had told SDT that he had earned a spot in Kenya's team after finishing seventh at the national trials in Ruiru, and his performance would guarantee him his maiden outing for the country.

His suspension runs from February 28, 2023, the month he was preparing to fly the country’s flag.

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) told the tribunal that Koros had tested positive for 19-Norandrosterone, a banned substance that increases muscle strength, and he was quietly dropped from the cross country squad to Australia.

According to Koros, some individuals who wanted him out of team Kenya conspired to have him dropped.

He told the sports tribunal that the doping allegation against him was a fabrication by individuals who were hellbent on crushing his athletics career.

“I can state categorically that these changes were as a result of fabrication by individuals who wanted to ruin my athletics because of personal vendetta,” Koros told SDT.

Koros made his breakthrough in winning the 10,000m at the 2021 Kenya Defence Forces championships in Nairobi.

Adak told the tribunal that samples collected from Koros were classified as A and B and transported to a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) accredited lab in Qatar.

“The analysis of the A sample returned an adverse analytical finding for prohibited substance, 19 norandrosterone,” Adak said in the charge.

But Koros responded: “The content that bears the results is not a certified document by the accredited lab, nor security features that can attest the credibility of the accredited laboratory in Qatar.”

In an interview with Standard Sports, Koros claimed his troubles started before the suspension.

“The final day before we flew to Barthust. I was directed by a top coach to travel to Nairobi from the team Kenya camp in Kigari, Embu. I was informed that I was supposed to apply for a Schengen Visa because my management had organised a race for me in Europe. I wondered why my manager would contact me through the coach instead of calling me directly,” Koros said.

He went on to explain: “I consulted one athlete who had flown the Kenyan colours a number of times at World Cross Country championships and he asked me to be very careful. He told me to go to Nairobi but be careful because it could be a setup to stop me from traveling to Australia.

“As I traveled to Nairobi in a public service vehicle, a man who introduced himself as an Adak official requested my email and WhatsApp contacts. I asked him why he wanted details that are already in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) and the caller said he only wanted to confirm my details for the purpose of sending test results.”

Koros says the positive test results were sent to him through WhatsApp that night and email the following morning, ending his dream of competing for the country.

Also, before reaching Nairobi that evening in February, he was informed that a colleague had been kidnapped and dumped at Ngong area, and that she had been rushed to Kenya Defence Forces Memorial Hospital. He says he rushed to the hospital as soon as he arrived in Nairobi and he found her receiving treatment at the facility.

“Strangely, my management told me that it had not organised for me a race in Europe and that I was not required to apply for a Schengen Visa. That is when I suspected that I had been duped to go to Nairobi and that the 'kidnapping' drama was a scheme to distract me and compel me to pull out of Kenya's team. When that failed, the doping results came out,” claims Koros.

He claims a top athlete who trains in the US together with her husband had informed him about the kidnapping.

Before the departure to Australia, Koros claims he was called by an AK official who asked him to travel to Eldoret to take part in the 2023 edition of Sirikwa Classic Cross Country Tour, but he declined after arguing that it was impossible to compete in Lobo Village just days to the global show.

“While in Kigari, seven samples were taken from me and all turned negative. The samples taken in December 2022 during the national cross country championships turned positive,” he said.

Koros says he is disputing the positive test after data in ADAMS revealed that the samples were collected in Eldoret yet his Doping Control Officers took them in Eldama Ravine, his whereabouts.

An AK official who did not want to be quoted said the matter of Koros signing two management contracts through an alleged fraud was resolved amicably. He said AK can’t be blamed for discrepancies.

Previously, in 2021, Koros was caught up in a management contract issue which almost triggered a sanction.

“I was shocked after someone at AK called to inform me that I had signed a contract with two different managers. I knew I had only signed a contract with adidas. I went to AK offices and we found that someone forged my signature in the scam because he wanted to ruin my career. The forged signature was used to enlist me in a management where an official in one of the federations is an official,” the suspended athlete claims.

He took his complaints to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). In one of the responses AIU advised Koros to seek legal advice on the location discrepancies in his sample and results.

“You are right in paying attention to irregularities and mistakes that might have taken place during your tests, but I would like to highlight all the issues and suspicions you have should be raised with your legal representative who could advice you on the matter,” AIU investigator analyst Anna-Maria Karhu said in one of the letters to Koros.

In 2021, Koros was to replace three-time World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor who pulled out of Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing fourth at the national trials but, as he claims, he was locked out since he had not been tested three times as required of athletes from countries in Category A Wada watchlist.

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