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Kip Keino, Kenyan Olympic legend, hands himself over to police in corruption case

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Running great Kip Keino handed himself over to police in Kenya on Thursday and is under arrest, set to face charges of corruption and abuse of office that threaten the reputation of one of track and field’s most revered figures.

The 78-year-old Keino, former Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario and two other former sports ministry officials surrendered to police to meet a 6 a.m. deadline.

They are due in court Friday to plead to the charges relating to the misuse of more than half a million dollars meant to fund Kenya’s team at the Rio Olympics. Keino was president of the Kenyan Olympic committee at the time.

Keino is a two-time Olympic champion, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee and was one of the first athletes to be inducted into track and field’s half of fame in 2012.

He was the forerunner for generations of Kenyan distance-running champions, winning the 1500m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

He is accused of playing a role in the misappropriation of more than $545,000 of government money set aside for Kenyan athletes at the Rio Games two years ago. Keino and six other current and former Olympic and government officials were accused by prosecutors of the embezzlement of more than $200,000 and misuse of more than $300,000.

Relating to the misuse, prosecutors allege the seven wasted more than $150,000 on unused air tickets to Rio, overpaid allowances amounting to nearly $150,000, and incurred tens of thousands of dollars of other expenditure on “unauthorized persons” — people who were not Olympic officials or athletes.

The Daily Nation newspaper in Kenya reported that Keino will be charged with giving his son nearly $25,000 of Team Kenya’s money for an air ticket to Brazil and spending money in Rio. The exact charges against the four who reported to police Thursday morning will be published when they appear in court.

Three other officials, current Olympic committee secretary general Francis Kinyili Paul, Rio team manager Stephen Arap Soi and former sports ministry official Richard Ekai, appeared in court Monday. They were charged with multiple counts of corruption and abuse of office. They pleaded not guilty and were granted bail, with a judge saying the trial of all seven would start Nov. 16.

Keino, possibly Kenya’s most respected sportsman, handed himself over to police at about 5.30 a.m., the Daily Nation reported, to beat the deadline.

Wario is a former member of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cabinet and now the ambassador to Austria, meaning the corruption case reaches upper levels of the government. Ekai, his former sports ministry colleague, was recently appointed Kenyan ambassador to Russia.

Details of a chaotic Kenyan Olympic trip emerged in 2016, with allegations of joy riders being given thousands of dollars in allowances and hundreds of thousands of dollars and equipment meant for Kenyan athletes disappearing.

Despite that, Kenya finished second in the track medals table and had its most successful Olympics.

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Kip Keino among Kenyan Olympic facing corruption charges

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya’s director of public prosecutions says distance-running great Kip Keino and six other former officials will be charged with corruption relating to the alleged misappropriation of more than $545,000 that was meant to help fund the country’s team at the Rio Olympics.

Keino, a trailblazer for Kenyan runners and a gold medalist in the 1500m at the 1968 Olympics, was head of the national Olympic committee until last year. Kenya’s former minister of sport, Hassan Wario, is also one of the ex-officials the public prosecutor says will be charged, as is Stephen Arap Soi, the team leader at the Rio Games.

Director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji said the seven have until the end of Monday to report to the headquarters of the directorate of criminal investigations (DCI) or they will be arrested. The prosecutor ordered them to then be arraigned in court.

Kenya’s preparations for the Rio Games were marred by allegations that officials stole money meant to pay for athlete travel, accommodation and other expenses.

Haji said the DCI, a special crimes unit, had been investigating the allegations since late 2016. After nearly two years, Haji said he was “satisfied that there is sufficient evidence” to charge the seven.

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Conseslus Kipruto wins Zurich steeplechase with one shoe

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Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto followed his Olympic and world titles by winning Thursday’s Diamond League steeplechase final … with one shoe.

Kipruto’s left shoe came off early in the 3000m race, but he still managed to pass world silver medalist Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco on the finishing straight in Zurich.

“I have big pain,” Kipruto said, according to meet organizers. “I am injured because I lost my left shoe. That was a mess.”

The field was one of the deepest of all time — including the nine men who combined to own the 26 fastest times in the world this year.

U.S. Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager was looking to become the first American to break eight minutes. It didn’t happen. Jager was third in 8:13.22.

Kipruto had looked vulnerable in 2018 with three Diamond League defeats.

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