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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.

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Olympic marathon silver medalist provisionally suspended

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Eunice Kirwa, the Olympic marathon silver medalist, is provisionally suspended for using EPO.

Kirwa, a 35-year-old from Bahrain (born in Kenya), finished second at the Rio Games behind Kenyan Jemima Sumgong, who is banned until 2027 for using EPO and then lying about it. Sumgong and Kirwa keep their Olympic medals because their doping violations came after the Games.

Ethiopian Mare Dibaba finished third in Rio. Shalane FlanaganDes Linden and Amy Cragg were sixth, seventh and ninth, the first time the U.S. put three women in the top nine at an Olympics.

“After we crossed the finish line, Amy, Shalane and I sat around and chatted about the race,” Linden said in 2017, according to LetsRun.com. “I said it, like, ‘Within one year, we’ll all have bumped up two spots.'”

Kirwa, also the 2015 World Championships bronze medalist, last competed at the 2017 Worlds, where she placed sixth in the marathon.

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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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