track and field

AP

Kenya’s Olympic track coach banned 10 years

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The Kenyan track team coach who was sent home from the Rio Olympics was banned for 10 years Wednesday for seeking a bribe of $12,000 to help athletes beat doping tests.

Michael Rotich was banned by the IAAF ethics board following a three-year investigation prompted by an undercover sting by British newspaper The Sunday Times. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and $14,000 in procedural costs.

In video footage released by the newspaper during the Rio Games, Rotich asked undercover reporters for the money to help a group of British runners dope with EPO and get away with it in the region in Kenya where he was the senior track official. To do that, he would give them advance notice of any drug tests.

“When I have interest, I will be able to find ways and means of doing that,” Rotich told the reporters.

The undercover reporters were posing as the coach and manager of a fictional group of athletes and no doping took place.

But the video was released following a series of Kenyan doping and corruption scandals involving high-profile athletes and senior officials.

Rotich was filmed alongside another Kenyan, a man identified as Joseph Mwangi, who said he could provide the banned blood-boosting substance EPO to the athletes once they were in Kenya.

Three videos were recorded of Rotich meeting the undercover reporters in January and February 2016.

In them, Rotich said he could use his influence in the famous high-altitude training region in Kenya’s Rift Valley to find out if and when doping control officers were planning to test the visiting British athletes.

Rotich told the undercover reporters that he knew the local drug testers and would say to them: “I am in charge of the region. Would you mind from time to time let me know if you are coming to test our own athletes or international athletes?”

Rotich said he was confident the testers would comply and he could give the British athletes 12 hours’ notice of any tests, allowing them to try to flush any banned substances out of their systems. Out-of-competition doping tests are meant to surprise athletes so they can’t take any action to avoid detection.

In his IAAF case, Rotich claimed he was only gathering information on corruption to take to authorities. That defense was rejected by the three-member ethics panel.

Although Rotich’s actions didn’t lead to any doping or cover-ups, the presence of advance notice of tests in Kenya came under more scrutiny in the case of 2008 Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.

Kiprop admitted that he had been given advance notice of a doping test in Kenya in late 2017. Kiprop also admitted paying the doping control officer a small amount of money, which he suggested was common in Kenya. Kiprop tested positive for EPO and was banned four years.

MORE: Allyson Felix: I stand with Caster Semenya

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Matthew Boling, high school track phenom, chooses summer meets

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Matthew Boling, the Texan who ran the fastest all-conditions 100m in high school history, plans to compete in next month’s USATF U20 Outdoor Championships and, should he make the national team, the Pan American U20 Championships in July, his coach said Tuesday.

Boling does not plan to compete in the senior USATF Outdoor Championships, which are one week after the Pan American U20 Championships.

“That’s a place where he can go and be successful, not be thrown to the wolves,” Houston Strake Jesuit coach Chad Collier said of U20 competition versus senior nationals. “He has an opportunity to get on the [medal] stand in several events, then get a chance to go to the University of Georgia, be a freshman, be a college student.”

The USATF U20 Outdoor Championships air on USATF.tv+ for subscribers from June 21-23. Boling is on the qualifiers list in the 100m, 200m and long jump.

Boling, who turns 19 on June 20, is eligible to compete at senior nationals. He qualified in the 100m on May 11 by clocking a wind-legal 10.13 seconds at his state championships (one of the fastest, but not the fastest time by a U.S. high schooler in history).

Boling first garnered internet buzz by running 9.98 on April 27, though that was with a 4.2 meter/second tailwind, more than twice the legal limit (breaking Trayvon Bromell‘s record for the fastest 100m by a high schooler regardless of wind reading). The time converted to around a 10.16 in still conditions.

Boling ranks tied for 14th in the U.S. in the 100m this year, according to the IAAF. The top six at senior nationals are likely to make the world championships 4x100m team.

Boling may be a better long jumper. He ranks fifth in the U.S. in that event this season, having leaped 8.01 meters.

Boling also split a 44.75 on a 4x400m relay on May 11, which would rank sixth in the U.S. this year for the individual 400m, though relay splits are faster than times off flat starts.

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VIDEO: Noah Lyles outduels Christian Coleman in Shanghai

Caster Semenya enters Pre Classic in new event after testosterone ruling

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Caster Semenya is entered in the Pre Classic on June 30 to run the women’s 3000m, an event that does not fall under the IAAF’s new testosterone limits.

It’s the first announced meet for Semenya since the new IAAF rule capping testosterone in women’s events between the 400m and the mile went into effect. The Court of Arbitration for Sport denied her appeal and upheld the rule on May 1.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion, has raced almost exclusively the 400m, 800m and 1500m up until this season.

She won an 800m on May 3 in the last top-level meet before the testosterone cap went into effect for those distances.

At that May 3 meet in Doha, Semenya reportedly said “hell no” when asked if she would take testosterone-suppressing measures to stay eligible for the 400m, 800m or 1500m at the world championships this fall.

Semenya also said she would keep competing but would not race the 5000m, the shortest flat event on the Olympic program that she could move up to without a testosterone cap, according to those same reports.

The flat 3000m is not on the Olympic program (though the 3000m steeplechase is).

South Africa’s track and field federation has indicated it will appeal the CAS ruling.

“I keep training. I keep running,” Semenya said May 3. “Doesn’t matter if something comes in front of me, like I said. I always find a way.”

The Pre Classic women’s 3000m also includes distance titans Almaz Ayana (Olympic 10,000m champion who last raced in 2017), Hellen Obiri (world 5000m champion), Genzebe Dibaba (1500m world-record holder) and Sifan Hassan (world bronze medalist at 1500m and 5000m).

The Pre Classic will be held at Stanford, Calif., this year due to construction at Oregon’s Hayward Field ahead of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.

VIDEO: Noah Lyles edges Christian Coleman in photo finish

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