Jeptoo case indicator of progress in anti-doping fight: IAAF chief

Nairobi, Nov 10 (IANS) The decision to extend the doping ban of Kenyan female marathon star Rita Jeptoo from two to four years for blood booster EPO use is a sign that reforms driven by IAAF to clean up the sport are taking root.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an appeal by the world governing body last month after ruling the initial two-year ban slapped on her by local federation Athletics Kenya (AK) was too lenient for the deliberate offence to cheat, reports Xinhua.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe was quoted by the local media on Wednesday as saying the CAS verdict was a pointer to the reforms he has established in a bid to repair the tattered reputation of the sport he took over last year were gathering pace.

“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 told Kenyan website Citizen Digital.

He added the unprecedented decision to appeal against the decision taken by a member federation was done with a view of aiding a country that is grappling with a full blown doping crisis that has seen over 40 runners suspended for illegal substance use since 2012.

Coe underscored the Integrity Unit established within the IAAF will help local governing bodies such as AK handle the drug abuse menace in the sport without placing them under undue pressure in future.

“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 chief remarked.

The 35 year-old Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test September 25, 2014 and AK handed her an initial two-year ban.

“Accordingly, Rita Jeptoo is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of four years starting on October 30, 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,” the CAS said in a statement.

–IANS

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