25 March 2019

Kenya: Athletics Kenya Reinstates Duo to Continental Team

Athletics Kenya (AK) has reinstated the initial winners of the men's 5,000m race, Reuben Pogisho and Jacob Kiprop to Team Kenya for the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) Under-20 Championships planed from April 13 to 20 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

AK Youth Committee chairman Barnaba Korir described as "erroneous and unfortunate" the move that had Francis Lagat and Victor Chepkwony compete alone after they missed the initial final.

Lagat and Chepkwony, whose names missed out from final list, were made to compete alone after their appeal succeeded. They would then post the fastest times of 14:10.5 and 14:16.7 respectively.

That would knock out Reuben Pogisho and Jacob Kiprop, who had earlier won the final in 14:23.6 and 14:25.0 respectively, a move that elicited protests from Pogisho and Kiprop's handlers.

Korir said after listening and going through reports from what happened during the final, AK has found some coaches, call rom officials, time recorders and International Time Officials (ITOs) culpable of malpractices.

Korir indicated that the report has been forwarded to AK president Jackson Tuwei and Director for Competitions Paul Mutwii for action.

The CAA Under-20 Championships will run concurrently with the Under-18 Championships in Abidjan.

AK held the trials to select the two teams on Thursday and Friday last week at Kasarani.

"People will have to take responsibility for trying to bring such an event to disrepute by trying to cheat and influence results on behalf of their athletes," said Korir. "The ITOs we thought would give the right ruling were also involved and it's a shame."

Korir said that despite issuing a directive that the men's 5,000m final team should not be named before an inquiry is made, someone opted to slot it in.

Korir said that from the appeal, it's only Chepkwony, who had a valid case after he finished fifth in his semi-final race on Thursday to book a place in the final the following day.

"Lagat did not qualify after he finished sixth in the semi-final in a time of 14:31.0, which placed him 16th overall and outside the cut-off," said Korir adding that the inclusion of Lagat, who had not qualified rendered the race irregular and in violation of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) rules.

"Running two athletes violated the IAAF rules that need at least three athletes in the final," said Korir stating that even though Chepkwony attained the qualifying time, he was assisted by an athlete, who had not qualified hence rendering his time null and void.

"It's so unfortunate for Chepkwony and for sure someone will take responsibility for that," said Korir warning that coaches, ITOs and other officials found to have been involved in cheating will be reprimanded.

However, Korir defended the inclusion of World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Leonard Bett and 2017 World Under-18 800m silver medallist Lydia Jeruto in Team Kenya saying that they were clear on the wildcards way before the trials.

Bett and Jeruto, who are currently in residential training with the team for the World Cross Country Championships didn't take part in the trials.

Bett and Jeruto will immediately link up with the team in Abidjan after the World Cross Country Championships slated for March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.

"These are sure bet for medals in Abidjan and we just can't leave them out," said Korir.

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