NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya’s athletics federation will hold a hearing for Rita Jeptoo next Thursday, with the marathon runner ordered to attend along with two coaches and her agent as the East African country investigates its latest and possibly most damaging doping case.
Athletics Kenya said in a statement that its medical and anti-doping commission will conduct the hearing at the federation’s headquarters in Nairobi.
“We are hoping the hearing will shed light on who is behind this doping scam and Jeptoo will hopefully tell us what happened,” AK President Isaiah Kiplagat was quoted as saying by South African website supersport.com.
Jeptoo, a three-time Boston Marathon winner and two-time Chicago Marathon champion, failed an out-of-competition doping test in Kenya in September. Weeks later she claimed her second straight title in Chicago.
She was set to be crowned winner of the World Marathon Majors series when it was revealed that she had failed the test. Her backup “B” sample also came back positive in tests last month at the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Lausanne.
Two senior officials with Athletics Kenya said the 33-year-old Jeptoo tested positive for the blood booster EPO.
In its statement, AK said it had also “summoned” coaches Claudio Berardelli and Noah Busienei, and Jeptoo’s agent Federico Rosa to the Jan. 15 hearing.
Jeptoo faces a two-year ban. She is the highest-profile Kenyan athlete to fail a doping test and her case came with the country already under close scrutiny after a recent spike in doping cases.
Kenya’s doping problems were first highlighted in 2012 by German broadcaster ARD, which alleged there was widespread doping among Kenyan athletes, with EPO and other banned substances easily available at their popular high-altitude training bases.
The ARD allegations led to pressure from the World Anti-Doping Agency on Kenya to investigate, and a government-appointed commission reported last year that there were no effective doping controls.
Kenyan athletics officials have blamed foreign coaches and agents for many of the cases. Speaking to The Associated Press in the days after Jeptoo’s first failed test was announced, her Italian agent Rosa denied any involvement in doping.
“We will legally go after the person or people that convinced Rita to do this,” Rosa said.