November 30, 2015

LONDON (AP) Three senior Kenyan track and field federation officials were suspended by the IAAF on Monday over accusations they subverted the east African nation's anti-doping system and siphoned money from Nike.

Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat, suspended for 180 days by the IAAF ethics commission, has also been told there is a case against him over an ''apparent gift'' of two cars from the Qatar Athletics Federation.

Kiplagat is accused of receiving the cars personally or for the federation from Qatar, which won the right to stage the 2019 world championships in a November 2014 vote. The Qatari federation had no immediate comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

The IAAF ethics commission has not yet responded to questions from the AP about Qatar, which beat bids from Eugene, Oregon, and Barcelona to earn the right to stage the world championships for the first time.

Earlier this month, the IAAF suspended the Russian track and field federation after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency accused the country of operating a state-sponsored doping program.

The suspension of the three Kenyan leaders comes a week after a group of athletes occupied the federation's headquarters demanding the removal of top officials in a protest against doping and corruption.

The IAAF said ''in the interests of the integrity of the sport'' it had suspended Kiplagat, Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo, who is also a member of the IAAF's ruling council, and 2015 world championships team leader Joseph Kinyua for 180 days pending the outcome of the investigation.

The three men are accused of ''potential subversion of the anti-doping control process in Kenya'' and the ''potential improper diversion from Athletics Kenya of funds received from Nike.''

Kiplagat and Okeyo are also being investigated by Kenyan police over the alleged misappropriation of more than $700,000 from federation sponsor Nike.

''I was formally set to relinquish the seat anyway and retire to my farm but I will fight all allegations against me vigorously,'' Kiplagat said. ''My time in Athletics Kenya was up anyway. Only an accident at home that has kept me in hospital prevented me from handing over.''

Kinyua, the former treasurer at Athletics Kenya, maintained that he had ''nothing to worry about.''

''I responded to charges pertaining to Nike sponsorship in March this year and there is nothing new involving me since that issue has been revolving for a long time,'' Kinyua said. ''What has happened is fine and each will have their day to respond to the charges.''

The ethics commission has appointed Sharad Rao, a former director of public prosecutions in Kenya, as an investigator.

The cases come at a time with scrutiny over the spike in doping cases in Kenya, with more than 40 athletes failing tests since 2012.

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