Nairobi - Disgraced Kenyan drugs cheat Rita Jeptoo, once considered the world's
top female distance runner, arrived in Nairobi on Thursday for a hearing
to find out how long she will be banned from the sport.
Jeptoo was busted for using the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO
during an out-of-competition drugs test last year and faces a suspension
of at least two years plus the loss of a string of recent titles.
She kept her eyes to the ground and made no comment to reporters as
she entered the Athletics Kenya headquarters in the Kenyan capital,
where she will be under pressure from national officials to come clean
and spill the beans on how she acquired and was administered the drug.
Athletics Kenya has also called in Jeptoo's manager Federico Rosa and
coach Claudio Berardelli, both of whom have distanced themselves from
the scandal. Her estranged husband Noah Busienei - who has implicated
Jeptoo in doping offences dating back to 2011 - has also been called to
Jeptoo, aged 33 and the winner of the last two consecutive Boston and
Chicago marathons, is expected to face a two-year ban - although
sports bosses could choose to impose a new mandatory four-year ban that
came into force from January 1.
She has already been denied the $500 000 prize for winning the last
World Marathon Majors series, and may also be forced to pay back other
prize money that has already been paid out.
"We are hoping the hearing will shed light on who is behind this
doping scam, and Jeptoo should be able to spill the beans," Athletics
Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat told AFP ahead of the hearing.
Kenya's sports bosses have been accused of inaction on the doping
issue, which has cast a shadow over the record-breaking and
medal-winning achievements of its fabled distance runners.
They have blamed the current crisis on dishonest foreign agents and managers who are "corrupting" Kenyan runners.
Jeptoo is the biggest name in Kenyan athletics to have been busted
for cheating, and the scandal has cast a shadow over the astonishing
achievements of the east African distance running powerhouse.