What next for disgraced Manangoi?
Athletics Kenya says the rule to block all cheats from representing the country in international championships will apply to 2017 men’s 1,500m world champion Elijah Manangoi who was on Friday banned for two years for doping violations related to missed tests.
Speaking to People Sport, AK senior vice-president Paul Mutwii said the law will be applied uniformly to all athletes in the country in the aim of fighting the doping menace.
“It is worrying that a senior athlete can miss tests for such a long time knowing very well there are consequences.
For starters, what was he hiding? As a federation we are very disappointed with the act and therefore he shall not be representing the country when the ban ends,” Mutwii said.
He added, “As a matter of fact, we have so many outstanding athletes in 1,500m who are proud to represent the country at the Olympics and world championships.
Initially, Mutwii had appeared to suggest the federation will decide Manangoi’s fate when the suspension ends.
“Two years is a long time, and a lot can happen in that duration,” he had suggested before going back on his remarks that no special preferences will be applied to any athlete.
This comes after Manangoi, who is also the Commonwealth Games champion, apologised after the ban.
Manangoi accepted the verdict delivered by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Friday promising to “be back on track and win right.”
‘I am sorry’
“It’s my mistake. I have received the verdict from AIU and as I sit here, I have acknowledged that I made a mistake on my whereabouts failures and I have accepted their decisions, though it will be difficult to forgive myself,” he said in a statement at the weekend.
Manangoi was sanctioned for missing three tests between July 3, 2019 and December 22, 2019 and AIU confirmed he had waived his right of appeal in a Disciplinary Tribunal to the charges levelled against him.
He will now join Asbel Kiprop, winner of that particular race in the banned category.
The 30-year-old police officer warned fellow runners to be wary of violating the whereabouts rules, the recent cause of a raft of bans affecting Kenyan athletes.
“I would like to urge my fellow athletes both in Kenya and abroad to seriously take care of their own whereabouts to avoid unnecessary sanctions, it seems simple but a slight mistake can be costly at the end.
“It’s shameful. I’m a clean athlete and I will be back on track and win right," he concluded.
Manangoi is the latest reputable Kenyan runner to be sanctioned in recent years in a line-up that includes 2008 Beijing Olympics 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong who make up over 50 athletes to have been banned in the recent past.
Earlier this year, London 2012 Olympic bronze winner and former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang was banned for four years for whereabouts rules violations and trying to cover up for the missed appointments with a doping control officer.
Mutwii, speaking ahead of the annual Anti doping seminar to be held in Nairobi early next month, said it is about time stakeholders stopped blaming ignorance as a cause of the violations.
Kenya is still in Category A, with eastern African rivals Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine, described by the IAAF as “member federations majorly at risk of doping.