Italian sports agent Federico Rosa charged with doping in Kenya

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[BBC Africa]  Italian sports agent Federico Rosa, who managed disgraced former Kenyan Olympic athlete Rita Jeptoo, has been charged in Kenya with doping offences.

Mr Rosa denied six counts of doping athletes in court in Nairobi.

They include Jeptoo, who was banned for two years in 2014 after testing positive for blood-boosting drug EPO.

Kenya passed emergency new anti-doping measures in May to avoid a ban on its athletes attending the Olympic Games in Rio.

Mr Rosa managed Rita Jeptoo, who failed a blood test in 2014

Mr Rosa, who is a director of Italy-based sports management company Rosa and Associati, was remanded in police custody until Monday, when the court will rule on his bail application.

It will also decide whether he should be given back his passport so that he can travel with his athletes to Europe and Latin America.

However the Italian has been defended by one of his athletes, Asbel Kiprop, who is the reigning 1,500m world champion.

Kiprop – who has a vehement anti-doping stance – said he had worked with Mr Rosa since 2008 and never seen any evidence of doping.

“What I can tell, with my own judgement, is that Federico is innocent. With due process, I think justice is going to prevail,” he told the BBC in Monaco, where he is due to race on Friday.

World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has defended Mr Rosa

“If there was doping, they would have given me first because many times I have attempted to run the world record and I’m not getting it. They’d have given it to break the world record,” he added.

More than 40 Kenyan athletes have failed drugs tests since 2011.

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As of January 2016, 18 Kenyan athletes were suspended for doping. The best known is Rita Jeptoo, who won the Boston and Chicago marathons.

Last November, former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said it was “pretty clear that there are a lot of performance-enhancing drugs being used” in Kenya.

Meanwhile, British Athletics has said it is reviewing its policy of holding winter training camps in Kenya due to allegations of widespread doping in the country.

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