Coach Barardelli acquitted in dope cheat Jeptoo case

Coach Claudio Berardelli outside Court buildings when he was acquitted of conspiring to injure Rita ...
Coach Claudio Berardelli outside Court buildings when he was acquitted of conspiring to injure Rita Jeptoo's profession by giving her banned substance EPO. (PHOTO/Charity Wanja)

A Nairobi court has acquitted Coach Claudio Barardelli and two others of conspiring to injure disgraced marathoner Rita Jeptoo’s profession by giving her banned substance erythropoietin (EPO).

Millimani’s Law Court Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot, ruled that there was no evidence showing that her former coach Berardelli, his assistant Daniel Cheribo and doctor Stephen ‘Kyla’ Kipchumba were involved in administering EPO to Jeptoo in 2014.

However, Dr Kyla will have a case to answer on November10 for running a pharmacy without a name and displayed certificate contrary to section 20(1) and  20(20)  the Pharmacy and Poisons Act.

“The complainant’s (Jeptoo) testimony was that her coach who is the first accused person had informed her that the Anti-Doping officers would come. He advised her to be cooperative and do whatever they will ask.

“That is how the urine sample that eventually tested positive for erythropoietin was found. Her coach was also the one who broke the news to her.

“Looking at the evidence, I have not found any actions with the first and second accused persons pointing towards a common plan or conspiracy. In fact generally I find his conduct to be consistence with innocence,” Cheruiyot read.

Cheruiyot did not dispute that the complainant (Jeptoo) tested positive for EPO but noted that she was unable to reveal how the banned substance got into her system.

“Clearly the complainant was either unwilling or unable to reveal to the court how the substance EPO got into her body. She does not expressly accept that she tested positive for the prohibited substance.

“All the complainant did was mention an accident in August 2014 during training and a visit to Kapsabet Medical Center (Nandi County), a private facility where she was treated by the second accused. She states that she was put on a drip and given an injection she did not know the kind of medication that was admistered to her,” Cheruiyot ruled.

It was also confirmed that Rita, who is currently serving a four year ban was treated twice in Kapsabet Medical Centre.

The Principal Magistrate concluded that there were some circumstances that emerged which pointed towards the second accused (Dr. Kyla) in the involvement in the circumstances that led to the presence of the prohibited substance in Jeptoo’s body.

The three were arrested last year July and were accused of conspiring to injure a person in his/her profession contrary to section 395(d) of the penal code.

Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons, was banned for four years after failing a drugs test in September 2014.

The 35-year-old tested positive for the performance enhancing drug in a sample given prior to winning the 2014 Chicago marathon.

She was disqualified from that race and given a two-year ban by Athletics Kenya for the offence, but world governing body the IAAF appealed to the Court of Arbitration of Sport seeking a longer sanction.

In her hugely successful marathon career, Jeptoo has won three Boston and two Chicago marathons and also previously won the Stockholm, Paris, Milan and Lisbon marathons.

The defense hearing will be on November 10

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Story By Charity Wanja
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