DOPING SHADOW FALLS ON POPULAR KENYAN RUNNING STAR

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Nov. 10 (GIN) – A defiant Rita Jeptoo is rejecting claims by her estranged husband that she enhanced her spectacular winning running times in Boston and Chicago marathons with a blood booster.

"I feel very bad for what has happened to Rita but I saw it coming," said ex-husband Noah Busienei, who stated that he believes Jeptoo began doping in September 2011 on the advice of a foreign agent who promised to make the couple “very rich.”

The plot thickened when the husband’s lawyer reportedly sent Jeptoo a threat letter – unless she made a financial settlement with Busienei, it said, “he is willing to take the necessary step by revealing/disclosing/unleashing the doping dossier” to Athletics Kenya and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The French news agency, Agence France Press, is said to have seen the letter from the husband’s lawyer, Rioba Omboto.

Jeptoo’s alleged use of blood boosters will only be confirmed after a second sample of the same test that first raised questions comes back positive. A test has not yet been scheduled but a $500,000 winner’s check for the 2013/2014 World Marathon Majors series has been held up. Doping is a violation of the International Association of Athletics Federations, track and field international governing body.

Pressure on the runners to capture large monetary prizes led at least two Kenyans to be banned from racing due to doping. Mathew Kisorio received a two-year ban in 2012 and later told the German television network ARD that doping was not rare in Kenya.

“I went with it because everyone told me I wasn’t the only one — and none of the others got caught for doping,” he said. “I know that a lot of medical substances are used, which are injected straight to the blood for the body to have more oxygen. And when you run, you run so smooth. You have more stamina.”

The scandal has troubled Kenya's former marathon star Tegla Loroupe who put the blame on foreign coaches. "I don't blame our (Kenyan) coaches," she told insidethegames. "These athletes are being represented by foreigners.

"It's a shame for the country and also for our athletes who are naive, they don't know much about the issue of drugs… You people from the Western world, you know and the small kids know what's going on.

"Some of us, we don't know anything about it… Our kids have been subjected because foreigners see the athletes from Kenya as a source of income and therefore they can do anything." w/pix of R. Jeptoo

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