The Rio Olympics have been hit with a new doping scandal.
As per reports on the front page of today's Sunday Times, the Kenyan Olympic team's track and field manager has been captured on film offering athletes ways to help avoid the drug testing authorities.
The Sunday Times undercover investigation discovered that Major Michael Rotich was charging athletes a sum in the region of €11,800 to be given advance warning of when they might be drug tested. Rotich is in charge of a section of Atheltics Kenya, the organisation which has produced several of the world's finest long distance runners and has become a training destination for athletes from numerous countries.
— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) August 7, 2016
Reporters representing the Sunday Times in Rio contacted Rotich and over the course of three separate visits, the following was discussed.
- Rotich requested a one-off payment of €11,800 in order to give athletes 12 hours of advance warning ahead of a drugs test. Many performance enhancing substances could be flushed out of an athlete's system in this time.
- Rotich claimed he could give advance notice of drugs tests because he knew some of the testers who would, on occasion, contact him to find the whereabouts of certain athletes.
- Rotich elaborated on how to avoid drug tests and claimed that Kenya was a safe haven for athletes to take performance enhancing drugs without fear of being caught.
- Rotich suggested several excuses to athletes who wanted to avoid a test, including fabricating a claim that the athlete in question was comforting a sick child in hospital and therefore could not be tested.
The recordings took place in January and February. Rotich, when confronted with the recordings, flipped the script and claimed that he himself was undercover and was attempting to expose the journalists.
Rotich has been ordered to return to Kenya by officials to face questions on the "serious allegations" posed by the Sunday Times.
The Olympics have been embroiled in a series of performance enhancing drugs controversies in recent weeks. Russia has been found to have been engaging in a state-sponsored doping programme, while it was also revealed Irish boxer Michael O'Neill was the first athlete to have had a drug test failure announced at the Games.