No respite: Problems everywhere for Kenya at the Olympics

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 09, 2016 09:56 AM
No respite: Problems everywhere for Kenya at the Olympics
FILE - In this March 24 , 2013 file photo, Kenya's Emily Chebet crosses the finish line of the women's race at the Cross Country World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Never before have Kenya’s fabulously successful runners gone to the Olympics in such a negative light. Kenya has a doping problem, no doubt, but it’s seemingly not on the same scale as Russia. At least 40 Kenyan track and field athletes have failed doping tests and been banned since the 2012 Olympics in London. That’s an alarming rate of nearly one a month. Although 40 doping cases in four years is a significant number, the vast majority so far have been lower-level runners who haven’t won major titles. There are a couple of exceptions: Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and two-time cross-country world champion Chebet are among those banned. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

GERALD IMRAY, AP Sports Writer

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The problems are stacking up for Kenya at the Olympics: A new doping scandal, ineligible athletes, missing plane tickets, and now bad blood between the track and field federation and the national Olympic committee.

And their top athletes haven't even set foot on the track in Rio de Janeiro.

Athletics Kenya on Monday blamed the Kenyan Olympic committee for the travel problems that left javelin world champion Julius Yego without a plane ticket to Rio and caused other frustrated athletes, including 1,500-meter world champion Asbel Kiprop, to book their own flights and travel separately.

"Any confusion ... with athletes' travel is solely a mistake of NOCK," AK said in a statement.

The problems between the two bodies followed news on Sunday that Kenya was sending track and field team manager Michael Rotich home to face a police investigation after allegations he told undercover reporters that he could give athletes advance warning about doping tests in exchange for money.

Also, Kenya was forced to withdraw its men's 4x400-meter relay team, high jumper Mathew Sawe, and 200-meter runner Carvin Nkanata from the Olympics because they weren't eligible. It was discovered that the relay team and Sawe hadn't met qualifying standards, while Nkanata wasn't properly registered as Kenyan with the IOC. Nkanata travels on a U.S. passport but holds Kenyan nationality.

"NOCK has had his papers since March, reconfirmed his travel and received his accreditation or lack of it," AK said, again blaming Olympic committee officials. "Why did they not cross-check his accreditation?"

Yego, Kenya's first world champion in a field event, initially complained about the Olympic travel schedule given to his coach, who was only booked to be in Rio de Janeiro for four days and was due to leave before the javelin final. When Yego arrived at the airport in Kenya to depart for the Olympics this weekend, he didn't have a plane ticket. He was eventually given a temporary ticket and was allowed to travel.

Kenyan track and field has also been hit hard by problems in the buildup to the Rio Games, mostly related to doping. On Sunday, there was another scandal, this time involving the manager of the track team.

Rotich was ordered to return home after he was trapped in a sting by reporters from Britain's The Sunday Times newspaper. The paper said Rotich offered to provide the reporters, who were posing as coaches, advance warning of doping tests in return for a 10,000 pound ($13,000) bribe.

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