NAIROBI – Athletics Kenya said on Monday it had suspended two foreign agencies for six months from managing its athletes pending investigations into allegations of doping that have rattled a nation famed for its distance runners.
The suspension of Rosa & Associati, run by Italian Gabriele Rosa, and Volare Sports, run by Dutchman Gerard van de Veen, is a blow to several well-known athletes who are managed by the agencies.
“AK has decided to suspend two agents for the time being so that investigations can be carried out and when the results are out we will decide whether they come back or not,” AK President Isaiah Kiplagat told a news conference, naming the two agencies.
“This suspension … will be for a period of six months,” he said, adding: “There have been a lot of reports relating to doping in Kenya and a lot of fingers pointed at people, agents, doctors and pharmacists. We know it’s an intricate issue and critical matter and we want to deal with it.”
Van de Veen and officials at Rosa & Associati declined to comment.
Kenyan officials have pointed at foreign agents for leading athletes into using performance-enhancing drugs. But Kenyan authorities have been accused of not taking adequate measures to deal with doping cases.
Rita Jeptoo, three times winner of the Boston marathon and twice winner of the Chicago race, failed drugs tests last year. Athletics Kenya handed her a two-year ban. She is managed by Rosa & Associati.
Kiplagat said Athletics Kenya would work with the international athletics body, the IAAF, and would meet promoters of the Diamond League to agree on how to manage athletes handled by the two agencies to ensure they did not miss competitions.
Olympic and double world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, who has previously called for tough action against doping, said the decision could ruin the season for him and others. He is managed by Rosa.