Ferguson Rotich blames coach Anzrah scandal for Rio 2016 flop
Men 800m runner, Ferguson Rotich, has blamed the controversy that saw sprint coach John Anzrah sent home by the National Olympic Committee-Kenya (Nock) for failing to hit the podium heights at the Rio 2016 Games.
Rotich, finished fifth in 1:43.55 in a race won by two-time world champion and record holder, David Rudisha who held on to his Olympics crown with the third Kenyan in the final, Alfred Kipketer coming seventh.
Speaking to Citizen Digital at the Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) upon arrival on Friday night, a disappointed Rotich promised to come back stronger at next year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
“I was really hit hard by the news. My name was all over social media for wrong reasons. Knowing the doping claims that we faced as a country before going to Rio, it was not easy to handle anything associated with it.
“It first disrupted my training. Running starts from the athletes’ psychology and once you are destabilised you cannot perform. I regret because I was in great shape going to the Olympics and I know I should have brought home a medal,” lamented Rotich, the fourth finisher at the Beijing Worlds last year.
His father, Josiah Maiywa who led the family to welcome Rotich at JKIA was equally upset with the scandal blamed on a misunderstanding which he believes made all the difference.
“I have come to receive him as a hero, still proud of him although he did not bring home a medal. He had told us before he left he won’t return empty handed, and you could read it from his performances this season.
“I am not happy with the coach because whatever he did for whatever motive affected Rotich, history should have been written differently,” he added.
The athlete’s wife echoed her father-in-law’s remarks saying the tide turned against her husband as soon as his name was mentioned in Anzrah’s alleged attempt to change test samples.
“I talked to him while still in Rio after the news broke and admitted he was shocked and demoralised. I tried to encourage him but I could tell it was not the same again.
“We feel there is a better way things can be managed to avoid such thing,” the mother of one and half-year old daughter, Shantel Cheptoo who was present to receive her dad told.
Rotich, refused to comment on the issue of giving his accreditation to Anzrah saying it was under investigation.
“We are happy for Rudisha, winning gold was beyond personal so we are glad Kenya defended her 800m title.
“I personally want to shift focus to London next year as soon as the season is over, where I hope to make a bigger statement,” he pledged.
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