Scottish runner McDonald denies he was part of ARD expose
Stung by the story he was among the three foreigners that extracted information from local athlete Fredrick Lemishen Ngoyon under false pretense in the latest German TV, ARD and UK paper, Sunday Times documentary; Scottish runner, Thomas McDonald, has come forward to declare he was not part of the sting.
On Monday, a bitter Lemishen claimed he was duped into aiding the foreigners gather material for the explosive expose that accused Kenyan and British runners of using banned blood booster, EPO in a training camp in Iten.
He claimed the first two foreigners lied to him they were a manager and a coach and when they left just before the April 24 London Marathon, McDonald then came to his home two weeks after the event and took him to Eldoret town where he was filmed with a parcel later said to contain drugs in the documentary.
But McDonald contacted Citizen Digital on Wednesday to confirm Lemishen was a friend and it was he who introduced him to ARD and Sunday Times undercover team who also led him on in what is reading as a chapter from a John Grisham spy novel thriller.
In corroborating Lemishen’s claims the reporters passed themselves as a manager and coach, the Scot further averred he may have also been a victim of the investigators led by renowned journalist Hajo Seppelt even further alleging they bugged him to obtain information without his knowledge.
“I’m Frederick’s friend but I’m not a journalist nor did I film him without his knowledge. I’m an athlete and my purpose in Kenya was to train with Frederick and nothing else,” he wrote to this reporter.
“I believe that when the coach and manager came, they gave me clothes for smart casual in Eldoret and training clothes for the weeks I was there (and) they somehow planted a recording device without my knowledge and this is what I have come up with so far,” he wrote.
“I met him in Iten almost three years ago now and I came to his house to surprise him that I was back and training with him and brought him an Arsenal mug,” the runner who also works as a security officer with global company, G4S, added.
McDonald declares his wish is to re-unite with his friend who was distraught after he appeared on camera and his name was adversely published by the Times when he returns to Kenya later this month.
“I met him through Joseph Mwangi in County Star in Iten. My plan was to come back to Kenya on 29th of this month and being him the full Arsenal strip with NKOYON 1 on the back of it.
“Also I bought him a Visa when I was in Kenya which was declined by the authorities as I didn’t provide bank statements and I did not receive my money back for this which I paid Ksh14,000.
“Before I met him I had seen him on TV and when we met and immediately became friends and I believed in him that he could make it one day in athletics when no one else did,” the runner whose profile says he has competed in multiple distance disciplines from 1500m to half marathon.
He narrated he uses his saving from his security job that entails being a steward at sporting events and music concerts to fund his training trips to the country.
“But this is so expensive and sometimes in Kenya near the end of my trips, I cannot not even afford anything. Me and Frederick just had bread and tea. He is a survivor and a great guy and I would definitely not wish what is happening to him now,” McDonald emphasised.
“This is all I could say at the moment and I just want Him to know I never done this to him and I had no knowledge of the coach and manager were journalists until they contacted me few days ago.
“I actually introduced them to him as they wanted to sponsor me and I thought if I mentioned him they would be keen on sponsoring Frederick as well. This is what I have at the moment and I am really gob smacked about all this,” the Scot rued.
McDonald provided evidence he had sent money to Lemishen to help him post bail after he was arrested by authorities.
Before airing and publishing their expose; ARD and Sunday Times showed the video to Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) boss, Japhter Rugut who then shared the information with Directorate of Criminal Investigation (CID) that has apprehended a number of suspects on doping charges.
-Aware and vigilant-
“Yes but as my local knowledge I believe this happens a lot and should have been more aware and vigilant. As I paid Ksh2, 000 already for the police to release him a few days ago and promised in an email sent to Fredericks that I would send Ksh8,000 at the end of the month to help him pay his landlord,” McDonald revealed.
“Yeah I believe he was (disappointed) but he must know I am not part of it and the media is wrong, I’m an athlete, I’m not a fake athlete and I’m not a journalist,” he stressed.
“I save up money and I wanted to get Frederick here for a race and let him stay here. He would be here now if his Visa was not declined by the authorities.”
The documentary released less than a month to the Rio 2016 Games has stirred harsh reactions from the Kenyan athletics fraternity and Government who have termed it as an effort to taint the reputation of the country’s celebrated track and field team at the Olympics.
Sports Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario announced in Eldoret on Tuesday that athletes selected to compete in Brazil would go through three dope testing regimes before travelling to the Summer Games in a bid to enter a clean team.
World athletics body, IAAF has placed Kenya under observation until December while the International Olympics Committee declared all the country’s participants in Rio 2016 would have to undergo testing abroad twice to be cleared to compete.
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