The doping scandal continues to rock this year’s Rio Olympics with the arrest of Kenya’s athletics team manager Major Michael Rotich for extortion in return for valuable information regarding the anti-doping investigation in their country.
The Kenya team learned that Rotich was asking $13,000 to have some local journalist pose as athlete representatives and have them witness how he would warn coaches of a drug test that is to happen. The process would have their athletes clear to compete in the Olympics.
Due to the incident, Rotich was expelled and was immediately sent home after discovering that the incident. He was then arrested, Tuesday, at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, though no formal charges were lodged against him.
Authorities want to detain him for questioning before his court appearance on Aug. 17. Kenya’s Anti-Narcotics Unit stated that Rotich may have violated other provisions of their laws aside from the anti-doping issue.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law last April a bill criminalizing doping which was part of WADA’s deal for Kenya to avoid being ban from the Rio Olympic Games.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) together with Kenya’s Anti-Narcotics Unit will conduct the investigation on Rotich. In a statement, ADAK noted that if found guilty, Rotich will face sanctions and disciplinary actions, not to mention jail term.
They also mentioned that aside from Rotich, they aim to get more information and will not spare anyone threatening to also arrest those involve in the doping allegations.
Kenya’s athletics team did further comment on the issue and stress that none of their athletes were involved in the said allegations. They noted that Rotich acted on his own and assures the IOC that their athletes are “clean.”
The Associated Press reported that Rotich’s lawyer, Ham Lagat, stated that all evidence linking his client to the alleged doping scandal are all “whimsical evidence.” Lagat added that the evidence is too weak to merit a conviction. He added that his client was only playing along to “protect the athletes” and find out who are the people truly behind the doping scandal.
Kenya has dominated the long distance events in athletics since joining in 1956. They have hauled a total of 86 medals, of which 56 came from athletics. However, doping issues have caused dearly for Kenya’s campaign in the Olympics with more that 40 of their athletes failing the test and have been banned since 2011.