Nairobi, Aug 3 (IANS) Athletics Kenya (AK) has said doping claims contained in German TV ARD’s documentary against the country’s runners were aimed at derailing the team from achieving excellent performances at the World Championships in Beijing later this month.
In dismissing the documentary aired on Saturday and published by British publication Sunday Times, the national governing body threatened legal action against ARD and reporter Hajo Seppelt, who filed the explosive expose, reports Xinhua.
“The timing of the libellous report contained in almost half of the 55-minute documentary, which alleges widespread systematic doping in Kenya is extremely suspect and ill motivated, coming on the day we selected our team for the World Championships,” AK said on Sunday.
“The documentary not only makes serious and sweeping allegations on doping but also makes serious allegations on the integrity of our current and former leaders, including our sponsor without giving them an opportunity to respond to the allegations.”
The statement also said the documentary is made largely based on “private and confidential data as well as forged documents ostensibly from AK which are now a subject of investigations by the relevant authorities”.
The documentary shows footage obtained undercover of how unnamed athletes were being injected with blood booster, EPO at a number of clinics in Kenya’s northern town of Eldoret. The drug had led to the two-year ban of top female marathoner Rita Jeptoo in January.
Jeptoo also appears in the video, saying she has never been blood tested in Kenya, a loophole the documentary claims is helping many dope cheats escape the dragnet.
“The federation always welcomes any information which would help fight the vice of doping. But we cannot fail to point out that the documentary is an attempt to smear our runners with unwarranted suspicion as they prepare to undertake duty for their country in Beijing,” added the statement.
The governing body also threatened legal action against claims that top current and past officials withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from monies sent by kit sponsor and major financier Nike.
“On claims of financial impropriety on our top leadership, past and present, we have instructed our legal team to study the documentary with a view of bringing legal action against the TV station and the author,” it said.
Kenya selected a team of 47 athletes to represent the nation at the August 22 to 30 Worlds.