Coach Berardelli, five locals deny doping charges
Italian coach, Claudio Berardelli and five locals formally denied charges related to doping on Tuesday at Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts as prosecutors consolidated their cases.
Three of the accused, Berardelli who runs the 2 Running Club, Stephen Kiplagat Tanui alias Kalya and Daniel Cheribo Kiplangat are jointly charged with conspiracy to injure a person in their profession.
Prosecutors claimed that on diverse dates between August and September 2014 in Kapsabet Town within Nandi County, jointly with others not before court, conspired to administer a prohibited substance in order to injure the profession of Rita Jeptoo.
They are further accused of conspiracy to prevent the three-time Boston and twice Chicago marathon champion, Jeptoo, who is a convicted drug cheat from lawfully exercises her profession and conspiracy to effect unlawful purpose.
Tanui, a medic by profession faces two further counts of carrying the business of a pharmacist without registration and running a pharmacy without a name and displayed certificate.
Three others, Samson Kiprotich alias Talei, Ken Kipchumba Limo and Joseph Karuri Mwangi have been accused for conspiring to use Eldoret’s St. Luke’s Orthopaedic and Trauma Hospital to unlawfully to promote the use of prohibited substances.
The six appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate; Martha Mutuku who released them on bond-bail terms with the case being mentioned on October 25 and 26.
The accused all denied the charges with Berardelli out on a Ksh500,000 bond or the alternative of Ksh200,000 cash bail with the locals out on Ksh50,000 cash bail each.
The blockbuster drug bust of Jeptoo that shook the world has now seen Berardelli, her former coach and Italian compatriot, Federico Rosa charged by authorities at the Milimani and Kibera law courts.
Last September, Jeptoo who was banned by Athletics Kenya (AK) for two years told the press in Eldoret that Berardelli was not responsible for the events that led to blood booster, EPO, being found in her system following an out of competition test in September 2014.
That came a month after Berardelli parted ways with Rosa Associati, the company run by Federico and his father Dr. Gabriele Rosa, where the disgraced female marathoner was one of the high profile clients. The company dissociated itself from the actions of the athlete as soon as news of her failed test became public.
After leaving Rosa, a number of high profile runners invited him to continue working with them and they established the 2 Running Camp.
Mid last month, top athletes in Berardelli’s stable marched to AK Riadha House headquarters to protest the deferment of his case as the State sought to enjoin his charges with those of the locals.
“We fear this might greatly affect the number of medals for Kenya during the upcoming summer games in Rio Brazil because we depend on him so much, he guides and builds us and it has been very difficult working without him,” the Moscow 2013 women 800m world champion, Eunice Sum said during the protest.
Mercy Cherono, the 2014 Commonwealth Champion, is the other Rio Olympics bound athlete under Berardelli’s tutelage with the champions of Chicago, Rome and Paris marathons, Dickson Chumba, Amos Kipruto and Cyprian Kotut also in his stable.
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