NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) The former agent and coach of banned marathon champion Rita Jeptoo appeared in separate Kenyan courts on Monday and were both released on bail as police continue to investigate them for involvement in doping.
Agent Federico Rosa was charged last week with six counts related to administering banned substances to two athletes: Jeptoo and a little-known runner named Elijah Kiprono Boit. The Italian national denied the charges and was released on Monday on $5,000 bail.
Jeptoo was the top female marathon runner in the world and a three-time Boston Marathon and two-time Chicago Marathon champion when it was announced she failed an out-of-competition test for the blood-booster EPO in late 2014. Court documents in Rosa's case allege he conspired with others to administer a prohibited substance to Jeptoo on several occasions in August and September 2014.
Jeptoo was banned for two years and is the highest profile of at least 40 Kenyan athletes to fail doping tests and be banned since the last Olympics in 2012. Her case has gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the IAAF seeking a sterner punishment than the two-year ban handed down to her by Kenyan authorities.
Rosa, who still represents other top Kenyan athletes, had his passport withheld when he was released on bail. The judge said he would release Rosa's travel documents if the agent could prove his claim that he represented 10 Kenyan athletes who were due to compete at the Riuo de Janeiro Olympics. Rosa said he needed to travel to Europe and then the Olympics to conduct business.
Rosa is the agent for, among others, three-time 1,500-meter world champion Asbel Kiprop, marathon runners Jemimah Sumgong and Stanley Biwott, and former 800-meter world champion Eunice Sum. None of those athletes have been implicated in the case, and some have spoken out in defense of Rosa, saying he is being targeted as a scapegoat for Kenya's long-running doping problems.
In a twist, marathoner Mathew Kisorio, an athlete Rosa previously represented who was banned for doping, said last week in an affidavit presented to the court that he was ''pressurized by some people to falsely incriminate'' Rosa in doping.
Jeptoo's former coach, Claudio Berardelli, who is also Italian, has not been formally charged but is being investigated alongside five Kenyan men for conspiracy to help athletes take banned substances. Berardelli previously coached Jeptoo, Kisorio, and 800-meter runner Agatha Jeruto, who were all banned for doping. Berardelli also previously worked for Rosa's athlete management company but the relationship ended after those three runners he trained failed tests.
On Monday, Berardelli was also released on $5,000 bail as a judge at a separate court gave police and prosecutors more time to investigate.
Three of the five Kenyan men facing doping charges alongside Berardelli were accused in a recent undercover operation by British newspaper The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD of providing and administering EPO to foreign athletes training in Kenya.