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Management firm Rosa claims they were
not quizzed over Kenyan doping bust

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Rosa Associati, the Italian management company of banned Olympics women marathon champion, Jemimah Sumgong, claimed it was not quizzed by Kenyan anti-doping authorities over her EPO bust.

Sumgong, who became the first Kenyan female runner to win the Olympic marathon title at Rio 2016 was slapped with a four-year ban from the sport by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) effective from April 3, 2017 following an out-of-competition test where the athlete tested positive for the banned blood booster.

Speaking at a local radio station, Kass FM, Rosa Associati founder, Gabrielle Rosa and his associate, Pierre Giuseppe, said there would be no route back for Sumgong at the management firm even if she serves her ban that was upheld on November 7, 2017 following a failed appeal.

“We were informed about the positive test and next was the information [about] the four-year ban. Nobody asked us anything, there were no investigations, there was nothing.” Guiseppe stated.

When pressed on whether the ADAK involved them in their investigation into the latest case, the Rosa Associati official was adamant.

“No, it is not true. Maybe the investigation went through the athlete who tested positive, because there was no reason to come through the company,” he stressed.

The company has been active in Kenya for 27 years and expressed regret at the high-profile bust of the 2016 London Marathon winner who was preparing to defend her crown.

“Of course, she did not feel good. We are all mature and we know very well when you do something wrong, you should be ready to pay the consequences. I’m sorry for Jemimah personally because there are human feelings involved but it is the reality and we have to face it,” Giuseppe added.

Rosa defended the company from claims that it was complicit, insisting that the doping problem was restricted to a few rogue runners.

“We fight doping every time. I have been a coach for 51 years and [have] been fighting doping all that time but in Kenya, there is a problem with some athletes. You cannot control everybody,” Guiseppe said.

“We try to explain [to athletes] it is not possible to use doping, [it will] destroy your life and when you are discovered, you are finished if you did it. The best way, is to be straight to follow training and to be sure you can go for a good result anyway,” Gabrielle Rosa insisted.

Gabrielle’s son, Federico Rosa, who manages the athletes was arrested ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics on doping charges after another suspended Kenyan female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo, a former three-time winner of the Boston marathon, accused the company of helping her inject EPO in her system.

The charges were later dropped and the founder of the company still represents over 100 Kenyan runners. He maintains that the country’s athletes are clean and says they would not work with any athletes who break anti-doping rules.

“What I know, something is going to change in Kenya. I know you can go to prison if you are involved in doping and this is a good way and we need to train young athletes to be serious and not trust [those] pushing them [toward] doping,” he  said in supporting the criminalization of doping in the country.

He distanced coaches and foreign agents from the scourge that has seen almost 50 Kenyan athletes banned for substance abuse since 2012, sparking the crisis that saw the country flirt with an international ban ahead of Rio 2016 alongside suspended Russia.

“Many athletes stay at home with their families, I can say Kenya is clean but you cannot stay with them as bodyguards and if anyone wants to go the other way, it’s their problem. It is not my job, it’s a small Kenyan problem,” Rosa emphasized.

The latest efforts by ADAK and Athletics Kenya to address the problem that has threatened Kenya’s distance running reputation were also backed by his associate.

“They are doing a lot of prevention; seminars with athletes to explain and teach that is the first part. They have improved out of competition controls and there is no other way. You cannot sit with athletes all the time,” Giuseppe said.

Rosa added there is little athletes’ representatives could do to prevent convicted cheats from returning to the sport after serving their bans, stressing they would no longer work with those who are in violation of anti-doping regulations.

Gabrielle and Giuseppe were in Kenya for the annual Eldoret Discovery Cross Country founded by Gabrielle 27 years ago. The race took place on Sunday in the northern Kenyan town.

Besides Sumgong and Jeptoo, other former Rosa clients from Kenya who have been banned for doping are Matthew Kisorio and 800m runner, Agatha Jeruto.



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