Kenyan police search agents’ hotel rooms at Olympic Trials

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Police investigating doping searched the hotel rooms of two Italian athlete managers during the Kenyan Olympic trials, and questioned the two men at police headquarters on Monday, one of the managers told The Associated Press.

The agents, Federico Rosa and his father, Gabriele, represent a number of top Kenyan athletes and previously represented marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, one of the highest-profile Kenyans to be banned for doping.

The police ”never found anything” when they searched their hotel rooms on Friday in Eldoret, where the trials were held, Federico Rosa said in a phone interview. He said he and his father were never under arrest, and they were unsure what the investigation was about.

Rosa said they had been asked to remain in Kenya and would be told on Tuesday if they were needed for more questioning.

Police did not immediately comment on the investigation, but the chief executive of Kenya’s anti-doping agency said it had handed over information to Kenya’s CID, a top police investigative unit, which then conducted the room searches on the final day of Kenya’s trials in the remote western town of Eldoret. The CID also questioned the two men on Monday at its headquarters in the capital, Nairobi.

”When we have any information, we share with the CID and the matter is now with them,” said Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya chief executive Japhter Rugut. He said he couldn’t comment in detail on the investigation.

Kenya’s national anti-doping body could not handle the investigation itself because it is currently suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Rosas’ agency, Rosa & Associati, was one of two foreign management companies banned from working in Kenya for six months last year pending an investigation. Kenyan authorities had said they suspected foreign agents were responsible for providing banned substances to athletes, but the authorities didn’t present any findings from their investigation.

Federico Rosa has denied any knowledge of or involvement in doping in Jeptoo’s case, or any other. Jeptoo, the world’s top women’s marathon runner at the time, tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in a test in Kenya in 2014. She was banned for two years.

Dozens of other Kenyan athletes have also been banned for doping since the last Olympics in 2012, and Kenya’s entire drug-testing program was suspended by WADA for failing to meet global standards.

At one point, Kenyan athletes were in danger of missing next month’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the doping problems.

Last week’s Olympic trials featured global stars like 800-meter Olympic champion and world-record holder David Rudisha, and Asbel Kiprop, the three-time world champion in the 1,500 meters. Kiprop is one of the athletes currently represented by the Rosas. He has not been implicated in any doping.

Authorities promised strict doping controls at the trials with the country’s reputation as a distance-running powerhouse under scrutiny following years of drug scandals.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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