May 3, 2018 / 8:54 PM / 19 days ago

Athletics - Kiprop says doping officials took money

LONDON (Reuters) - Kenya’s former Olympic and world 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop said on Thursday that a doping sample might have been tampered with by testers who not only tipped him off about their visit but also took a payment from him.

Athletics - IAAF Diamond League meeting - Men's Exxonmobil Dream Mile - Bislett Stadium, Oslo, Norway - 9/6/2016 Asbel Kiprop of Kenya celebrates after winning. Scanpix/Vidar Ruud/via REUTERS

Although there has still been no official confirmation of his positive test, Kiprop went into great detail about the test, carried out in November last year, in a statement that ran to over 1,000 words.

The 28-year-old, a senior police officer, said he paid the testers an unspecified amount of money via an electronic transfer and did not consider it untoward.

“I did not at the time expect that the request for the money had anything to do with the sample,” Kiprop said in the statement.

“At that time I did not see the money as inducement or bribe for anything. I gave it in good faith thinking they may have some need known to them. In retrospect, I now clearly see the money as having a relation with the sample collected on that date, and even the irregular advance notice I was given.”

Kiprop also said that he left the room after giving his sample and suspected that it could have been interfered with. He said the testers suggested he admit to doping so that he could be given an “ambassador role” with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

He also said that testers had given him advance notice of their visit – something clearly against anti-doping procedures.

Kiprop was informed of the failed test in February.

“I am the last person to commit such an atrocious un-sports like thing,” he said, adding that he was perplexed how his “innocent sample turned positive”.

As part of IAAF head Sebastian Coe’s reforms of the sport’s governing body, doping matters are now dealt with by the independent Athlete Integrity Unit.

The organisation did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the matter.

Kiprop, the third-fastest man in history over 1,500 metres, was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and promoted to Olympic gold at the 2008 Games after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi tested positive for doping.

Kiprop’s is the latest in a long line of doping cases in Kenya, where around 50 athletes have failed tests in recent years, including three-times Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong.

Reporting by Mitch Phillips, additional reporting by Isaack Omolu, editing by Ed Osmond

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