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Kenyan federation CEO dismisses bribery claim

394   //    11 Feb 2016, 13:58 IST
Isaac Mwangi is the head of the Kenyan athletics federation
Isaac Mwangi is the head of the Kenyan athletics federation,

The head of the Kenyan athletics federation has dismissed claims by two banned athletes that he asked for money to reduce their doping suspensions, describing the allegation as a "fabrication".

Joy Sakari and Francisca Koki Manunga told the Associated Press that federation CEO Isaac Mwangi asked each athlete for $24,000 to reduce the four-year bans they were given after testing positive for a banned substance during last year's world championships in Beijing.

Mwangi, who was appointed CEO in 2013, has denied that any conversation took place regarding any sort of payment.

"It's just a fabrication because according to the rules, if you are caught doping, the sanction is very standard," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It's very interesting that people are saying that they are being asked for money because once the decision is heard and determined, it's very clear there is no way Athletics Kenya can reduce the suspensions.

"These are just allegations that we will definitely follow up and get to know what is the motive behind this.”

The allegations are the latest to rock athletics, with Kenya, along with Russia, at the forefront of many of the doping and corruption issues that have dragged the sport through the gutter in the last six months.

Last November Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat, vice president David Okeyo and 2015 world championships team leader Joseph Kinyua were suspended for 180 days "in the interests of the integrity of the sport" by the IAAF's ethics commission.

The trio were accused of involvement in the "potential subversion of the anti-doping control process" and the "improper diversion of funds" the federation received from Nike.

The men, who were also questioned by police, have denied any wrongdoing and the commission is still investigating their case.

The announcement of their suspension came days after dozens of athletes stormed the Kenyan federation's offices in Nairobi, protesting against corruption and demanding that several senior officials step down.

Kenya remains the powerhouse of endurance running both on the track and in big-city marathons but around 40 of the country's athletes have been banned for doping in the last three years.

(Writing by Mitch Phillips in London, Editing by: Toby Davis)

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