Rita Jeptoo Tells Kenyan Court Her Coach Did Not Give Her EPO

Rita Jeptoo Tells Kenyan Court Her Coach Did Not Give Her EPO
Photo: USA TODAY Sports - Greg M. Cooper
When multiple-time Boston and Chicago Marathon champ Rita Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in 2014, it was one of the biggest drug busts in the history of our sport -- and just in time, as it came hours before she was about to receive marathon running's biggest jackpot in the $500,000 World Marathon Majors series prize. As such, it was no surprise that her two-year ban was later extended to four years, leaving the world's best marathoner penniless and the rest of the world with lasting doubts about not only her famed coach Claudio Berardelli, but also the whole of Athletics Kenya and its drug testing regimen.

Berardelli has achieved success at both extreme ends of the distance-running range, from coaching 800m world champs Eunice Sum and Janeth Jepkosgei to NYC Marathon champs Priscah Jeptoo and Stanley Biwott, as well as 58:46 half-marathoner Mathew Kisorio. Yet since her positive finding, Jeptoo has repeatedly shifted the blame away from her coach to an "unnamed doctor," and though Berardelli was arrested on July 5, he was released on bail shortly after and has yet to be formally convicted of any wrongdoing.

Yet now, nearly three years after the original 'A' sample finding, the source of Jeptoo's EPO could not be more unclear. Earlier today, the Kenyan courts heard that Berardelli was innocent in the case of administering EPO to Jeptoo, according to the Daily Nation.

"I was informed that tests revealed that I was using prohibited drugs. How they were infused into my body I do not know. None of these three accused persons administered the drugs," Jeptoo said of the incident. Her statement continues to shed little light on the situation, leaving track fans largely in the dark about how the world's greatest marathoner won millions of dollars in marathon running over several years -- a judgement from Athletics Kenya indicated she had been using performance-enhancers since at least 2012 -- before being caught with drugs.

Berdadelli, his assistant Daniel Cheribo, and doctor Stephen Kiplagat Tanui were all previously charged with conspiring to injure Jeptoo's profession by giving her EPO, but all three were cleared by Jeptoo. 

"My Doctor is Kagan," Jeptoo said, and the Daily Nation identified her doctor as "Dr Rotich."
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