Seb Coe: Jeptoo ban extension pointer to IAAF reforms

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

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe maintains the recent ruling to double the ban of disgraced Kenyan female marathon star Rita Jeptoo is a pointer to the pace of reforms the world governing body is putting in place to clean up the sport.

Speaking to Citizen Digital in an interview from London, Coe said the decision was in line with the four key pillars of reform he is driving to repair the battered reputation of the sport he inherited last year in the middle of a doping crisis.

On October 26, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an appeal launched by IAAF over the initial two-year ban handed to the marathoner who was convicted of illegally using blood booster EPO by Athletics Kenya (AK) in January 2015 claiming it was too lenient.

Other mainstays in the Coe reform plan are evolution, ethics and empowerment with Africa at the centrepiece of his proposed new order of the sport where athletes will play a pivotal role in management and decision making.

“We have to be open about this. We should never speak and rest in our task to eradicate performance enhancing drugs from sport. The technology gets better on both sides. On our side, we are able to go back eight to 10 years to know who and what was used because technology allows testing for substances we could not test at the time.

“We also have to accept that the unethical side of the sport, maybe the chemists, sometimes coaches and the athletes- a few will look for more sophisticated drugs that are less and less detectable. We cannot assume that once you won a battle, the war is over. The war I’m afraid will continue as long as we are talking and working within the sport,” the IAAF chief said.

Coe added the newly set up Integrity Unit within the IAAF will help federations such as AK combat the anti-doping menace with Kenya grappling with a crisis that has seen over 40 of its athletes test positive for proscribed substances since 2012.

“The support has been very strong across all the nations and the centrepiece of the reforms is the Integrity Unit that will help us with the new set of process around anti-doping and most important is the independent nature of the Disciplinary Tribunal and result management

“Federations will no longer have the difficulty of getting caught up in the process particularly around sanctioning that can cause quite some difficulty,” the IAAF boss emphasised.

The 35 year-old Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test September 25, 2014 and AK handed her a two-year ban from sports for the anti-doping violation with CAS directing the athlete to pay CHF 15,000 (Ksh 1,531,744.35 ) as a contribution to IAAF legal fees and expenses.

“Accordingly, Rita Jeptoo is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of four years starting on 30 October 2014, the date on which her provisional suspension started to run.

“The results of Ms Jeptoo in the 2014 Boston marathon and all other results as from 17 April 2014 (including the 2014 Chicago marathon) are disqualified pursuant to IAAF Rule 40.8, with all resulting consequences, including the forfeiture of the title, medal, prize money and any appearance money,” CAS said in a statement continued.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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