Africa athletics body defends ex-IAAF chief Diack over doping, fraud

Nairobi, Nov 24 (IANS) The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) believes its officials are targeted negatively in the fight against doping that is bedevilling track and field discipline at the moment.

CAA believes embattled International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) former president Lamine Diack of Senegal is being condemned without trial for abetting doping, reports Xinhua.

“For some days, the African athletics family is living some particularly difficult moments due to allegations against some of its members, mainly (honorary) president Lamine Diack, as part of an investigation led by the Independent Commission of World Anti-Doping Agency,” CAA president Kalkaba Malboum said in a statement on Tuesday.

French police are investigating the son of Diack and the former head of its anti-doping department, amid the corruption crisis engulfing international athletics.

Papa Massata Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov, and Gabriel Dolle have been charged with various alleged breaches of the IAAF code of ethics.

Papa Massata Diack is a former consultant to the IAAF, Balakhnichev is the former president of the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF), Melnikov is a former chief ARAF coach for long distance walkers and runners, and Dolle is the former director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department.

“Without judging on the ongoing investigation — all people who are mentioned in this matter fully benefit from the presumption of innocence. It is our duty to talk to you and to all the family members whom I call to unity, peace and serenity especially in this difficult moment,” said Malboum, who is also an IAAF council member.

“Despite this turbulence aiming at Africa, we still show our loyalty, our affection and our full support to president Lamine Diack who has devoted himself, soul and body for decades to serve this discipline both on continental and world levels,” said Malboum.

Kenya’s IAAF council member David Okeyo is also being investigated by the Kenya Anti-Fraud Unit and Criminal Investigation Department for his role in signing a new Nike deal that saw the American sports firm pay $500,000 as signing fees for the official to use. Nike signed a deal with Kenya, lasting 10 years up to 2022.

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