AK boss Tuwei urges Rosa, Claudio athletes to stay calm
Athletics Kenya (AK) President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei has urged athletes whose manager Federico Rosa and coach, Claudio Berardelli are facing charges for doping related offences to allow the law to take its due course.
Top athletes represented by Federico of Italian firm, Rosa Associati or coached by his former employee and compatriot, Berardelli, have protested against the charges facing them in court where they are separately accused of abetting doping.
The athletics boss was speaking in Nairobi a day after Kenya was declared compliant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Code on Thursday night in what is expected to be a major boost for the country’s athletes preparing to travel for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“The announcement has established a new era where not only the athletes will be affected but all stakeholders related to the sport that is managers, coaches, agents and federation officials who will be held accountable for any doping related charges.
“I think the athletes have understood why that process had to take place and we’ve been encouraging them to see the bigger picture. Olympics are something that comes once in four years and they should focus on what they have been training for and we hope they will not be distracted in any way,” Tuwei told Citizen Digital.
This comes barely a month after Asbel Kiprop rounded fellow Rosa Associati athletes in a press conference in Eldoret to protest what they term as the unfair targeting of their manager Federico who is the son of revered agent; Dr. Gabrielle Rosa.
Federico and Berardelli are out on bail after being charged with the offence of injuring the profession of the two complainants who failed drug test including shamed female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo. Five other locals have been charged with related offences.
The firm that has been active in Kenya for over three decades with Tuwei, the former Army Commandant, declaring the federation would liaise with the Government to come up with stringent measures to protect athletes.
“There are certain people or groups that approach athletes and don’t have their well-being at heart and we would like the Government to be prudent when dealing with such.
“We had earlier started a program on educating unsuspecting athletes on matters concerning doping and individuals with ulterior motives who may approach them,” the federation chief stressed.
“Media personalities should also follow the right protocol when interviewing athletes e.g. seeking authorization from the team manager before sitting down with them at camp.
“The Kenyan athletes at Rio should not feel pressured to answer questions that they don’t understand, and should feel free to seek help from an interpreter rather than embarrassing themselves,” he advised following a slew of damaging exposes on the country’s runners in foreign media.
The chairman is also confident that with the support of all the stakeholders involved Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) will now be able to carry out its mandate properly.
Additional reporting by Loise Wanjiku
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