Exposed: Facts of Jeptoo blockbuster doping case


Kenya's Rita Jeptoo reacts after winning the women's division at the 118th running of the ...
Kenya's Rita Jeptoo reacts after winning the women's division at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The blockbuster doping case of Rita Jeptoo has captivated the nation and the world since word broke out in December 2014 her A-Sample had tested positive for banned blood booster EPO.

Since then, details of what transpired from September 25, 2014 when two Doping Control Officers, Paul Scott and Elizabeth Scott conducted an out-of-competition urine test on the female marathon star who was training to defend her Chicago title have been out of the public domain.

But the ruling of the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday has blown open facts of the case with Jeptoo claiming she received the an injection from Dr. Stephen Kipchumba Kiplagat alias Kalya in a clinic at Eldoret’s Bargetuny Plaza after diagnosing her with malaria and typhoid.

According to submissions in the defence mounted by the athlete, Jeptoo met Kalya after a car accident in mid-August of that year while on a training run when she was allegedly run off the road by a passing vehicle, suffering minor injuries.

Accompanied by Daniel Cheribo who was once an assistant coach to Italian Claudio Berardelli, Jeptoo is said to have recovered quickly after Kalya treated her with a solution by intravenous drip and some pain killers at Kapsabet Medicare Centre.

Kalya and Cheribo are among the co-accused with Berardelli in a case where the state wants them prosecuted for intention to injure the profession of the athlete by administering proscribed substances.

The Italian and Cheribo are represented by the same lawyer Julius Kemboi while Kalya is representing himself having denied the charges and are due back in court on November 24 with Jeptoo previously saying in public her coaches had nothing to do with the issue.

In appealing Athletics Kenya (AK) initial two-year ban that was to end this month, world body IAAF on the contrary submitted that the athlete already knew Kalya well before the incident.

The parties also disagreed on whose idea it was to get the athlete to get treated at Medicare Centre with Jeptoo claiming it was her assistant coach Cheribo who proposed to drive there while IAAF maintained it was the runner herself who wanted to receive treatment at the facility.

According to the summary of the ruling, after Kalya suspected Jeptoo had malaria or typhoid, he took a blood sample from her and told her he would notify her of the results in 40-50 minutes and the athlete returned to her house after they met in his car.

“Dr. Kalya then called her by phone and about an hour later told her, as suspected, she had malaria and typhoid. Furthermore, Dr. Kalya told her that ‘the lab test showed that she had low blood count…that needed to be corrected.’ Following this phone call, the athlete submits that she met Dr. Kalya again in a clinic in Bargetuny where he gave her ‘tablets’.

“In addition, Dr. Kalya ‘recommended an injection for the typhoid.’ Finally, Dr. Kalya recommended another injection in order to speed up recovery and to ‘boost… (her) blood levels’. She consequently received two injections. According to the athlete, she did not know at that time, that she had been injected EPO by Dr. Kalya,” part of the summary that details the alleged incident that sparked the biggest doping case in Kenyan history highlighted.

-Tested negative-

Jeptoo famously went on to win the 2014 Chicago Marathon in 2:24:35 having tested negative for EPO after her Boston victory on April 21 where she ran a course record of 2:18:27 to ‘win’ the World Marathon Majors USD500,000 jackpot.

Consequently, a laboratory in Switzerland submitted adverse findings of her A-Sample from the urine collected in Kapsabet and on October 28, 2014, AK informed her of the same with Berardelli and her former manager, Federico Rosa of Rosa Associati calling her on the same day to seek an explanation how the blood booster entered her system.

AK provisionally suspended her from October 30, 2014, a decision that was also made by the IAAF pending a determination of the charge with Rosa and Berardelli recording the conversation they had with the runner and the CAS panel was provided with the transcript.

In November, a hearing took place involving AK Panel and the athlete where she wrote she wanted her B-Sample to be analysed in her presence accompanied by her legal representative and on December 19, the IAAF confirmed to the local federation that it had confirmed the findings of the A-Sample.

However, the IAAF found the conduct of Jeptoo when she attended the analysis of her B-Sample on December 17 unacceptable with the laboratory claiming she had tried to take test tubes containing her B-Sample in her hands, disturbing the procedure.

It is this incident that her former partner, Noah Busienei alluded to when he told Citizen Digital the extension of her ban was expected and inevitable.

Jeptoo claimed in her defence there was an attempt by the technician at the laboratory to mix up the samples during the analysis of the B-Sample. AK sought clarification from the IAAF regarding the application of the rules with the regard of the new anti-doping rules having become effective from January 1, 2015.

-Improper mixing-

On January 21, the lab denied any improper mixing of samples during the analysis of the B-Sample though it conceded the athlete had raised this point at the time.

“She was questioned at length as to how the substance could have been injected into her body considering that EPO is not a substance which can be swallowed. She was unable to give a specific answer but related an incident which took place in August 2014 when she said she was hit by a vehicle on a morning run.

“On being question (further) she confirmed that she did not report the accident to the police and could not produce any records of the accident or medical record to show that she was treated or the type of medicine prescribed.

“She did not call Cheribo to corroborate the accident and the treatment,” the judgement read.

Jeptoo did not go back to the facility to establish what treatment she received after testing positive.

Through her lawyer, Gladys Boss Shollei, on January 27, 2015 Jeptoo produced prescriptions that were said to have been given in Kapsabet and Eldoret and the CAS Panel observed they bore no name of a doctor or the hospital and neither do they explain or demonstrated how the prohibited substance entered Jeptoo’s body.

“Rita was not truthful in demonstrating to the satisfaction of this panel how the substance entered her body. Her mere uncorroborated and/or speculative guesses or explanations are simply insufficient to establish any exceptional/special circumstances entitling her to a reduction of the sanction,” the Panel ruled.

-Additional reporting by Charity Wanja

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