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Former Jeptoo coach -  Italian Claudio Berardelli - has been fired

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- One of the most respected coaches of Kenyan champion runners, Italian Claudio Berardelli, has had his contract terminated by the employers after yet another runner under his care tested positive for banned substances.

Rosa & Associati, the Italian based management firm at the centre of a doping storm, fired Berardelli whose camp in Kenya has seen three athletes test positive since 2012, the latest being women 800m hopeful and African bronze winner, Agatha Jeruto.

The Italian, who was a nutritional graduate before coming to Kenya and establishing himself as a fine coach, was the former trainer to disgraced female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo, who was banned in January for EPO use.

In an email, the firm’s director, Federico Rosa, expressed shock for Jeruto’s four-year ban that was confirmed last week by Athletics Kenya.

Marathoner Matthew Kisorio, who has since served a two-year ban slapped in 2012, was the first Berardelli trained runner to be sanctioned for doping violations.

This informed the firm’s decision to fire the coach, who has been subject to two attempts by the local federation to ban him from working in the country in the past.

"These athletes belong to one group is not easy to stay on top of all the athletes as we have five camps but again all from same group," said Rosa.

"Kisorio, Rita, Agatha.

"At the moment, we have stopped to work with the coach of those athletes positive Claudio Berardelli.

"And we are maintaining our blood tests to prevent the problem," added the manager who is set to come to Kenya next week to address the issue.

In April, Athletics Kenya suspended Rosa Associati and another management, Netherlands-based Volare Sport, to probe suspected spike in doping cases in their camps and to date, no report of any findings have been made public.

"Investigations are still going on and once the report is finalised, we shall take necessary action." AK chief executive officer, Isaac Mwangi, said Monday.

Berardelli coached Nancy Jebet Langat to 2008 Olympics women 1500m gold as well as Alfred Kirwa (Osaka 2007), Janeth Jepkosgei (Osaka 2007) and Eunice Sum (Moscow 2013) to world titles over 800m.

He also enjoyed success with two-time London and twice New York Marathon champion, Martin Lel, Duncan Kibet who won Rotterdam in 2:04, Stanley Biwott who was a runner-up in Boston last year, among other ultimate distance stars.



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