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Kenyan athletes allege doping bribery

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Joy Sakari and Francisca Koki Manunga  

Kenya Athletics boss accused of demanding bribe

Two two Kenyan athletes serving a four-year ban for doping at 2015 world championships, Joy Sakari, left, and Francisca Koki Manunga, right, have accused the chief executive of Athletics Kenya, the country’s governing body for track and field. He allegedly asked each for a US $24,000 bribe to reduce their suspensions. 



joy-sakari-kenya_3413997Joy Sakari and Francisca Koki Manunga  

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Joy and Francisca  told The AP that CEO Isaac Mwangi asked for the payment in an Oct. 16 meeting, but that they could not raise the money. They were informed of their four-year bans in a Nov. 27 email, but never filed a criminal complaint because, they say, they had no proof to back up their bribery accusation and also feared repercussions.

Mwangi dismissed the allegation as “just a joke,” denied ever meeting privately with the athletes and said Athletics Kenya has no power to shave time off athletes’ bans.
“We have heard stories, athletes coming and saying, ‘Oh, you know, I was asked for money,’” Mwangi said. “But can you really substantiate that?”

Sakari and Manunga, told AP they would be willing to testify to the ethics commission of the IAAF, the global governing body of athletics. The commission already is investigating allegations that AK officials sought to subvert anti-doping in Kenya, solicited bribes and offered athletes reduced bans. The probe has led to the suspensions of AK’s president, Isaiah Kiplagat, a vice president, David Okeyo, and AK’s former treasurer, Joseph Kinyua

The athletes spoke to AP in an on-camera interview in Embu, a ramshackle town 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Nairobi where they were housed in police accommodation.
Sakari also raced at the 2012 London Olympics and 2009 worlds. In Beijing, she competed under the name Zakary, but Sakari is her preferred spelling. She indicated that she is now done with athletics, because she will be 33 when her ban expires.
Manunga, 23, said she would have paid to return sooner to competition.
“For me, those four years are too many,” she said. “If I had the money, I’d have paid. But I didn’t have it. So I just left.”

 

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