December 12, 2014 / 6:28 PM / 3 years ago

Rudisha fears for Kenya's reputation

Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha holds his national flag as he celebrates after winning the men's 800m final with a new world record at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Phil Noble

KIMANA, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya’s reputation has been tarnished by allegations that the world athletics body covered up or did not investigate suspicious blood tests of some Kenyan athletes, Olympic champion David Rudisha told Reuters on Friday.

The claims, made in a German TV documentary broadcast this week by ZDF/ARD, are being investigated by the ethics committee of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, which claims to have seen documents provided to ARD by a World Anti Doping Agency whistle-blower, said 25 Kenyans were among the 225 athletes from 39 countries whose test results should have aroused suspicion.

“It’s really very sad to hear of this,” Rudisha told Reuters in Kimana, a Maasai town in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.

“It’s not only damaging Kenya’s reputation, it’s also ruining the rest of sport.”

Rudisha said the doping claims, which have sparked one of the biggest crises for the sport in recent years, were also threatening sponsorship money coming into athletics.

While Russia has hit out against the ARD allegations as a “pack of lies”, anti-doping campaigners have seized on the claims as proof that the governing body has failed to tackle drugs cheats seriously.

Rudisha, who has suffered injuries since winning the 800m Olympic gold medal in 2012, believes WADA and Kenya have not done enough to combat doping in the east African country famed for middle and long-distance running.

“I think both need to do something because so far I’ve never seen anything to do with educating athletes in Kenya about doping,” he said.

Rudisha added that Athletics Kenya should be more proactive to prevent Kenyan athletes from turning to doping.

“They should be doing something to create that awareness and to educate Kenyans about this,” Rudisha added ahead of “Maasai Olympics”, a conservation event which is part of efforts to root out lion killing in the Maasai culture.

“If your talent is not taking you to that higher level, don’t force it and don’t cheat to get there because it’s not fair even to yourself and it’s not fair to others.”

After dominating the 800m field in 2012, including the stunning Olympic final victory where he broke the World Record, Rudisha missed much of 2013 through injury and this year was beaten at least twice by Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who trailed second behind him in the London Games.

Rudisha said he was looking forward to 2015 and taking on Amos when fully fit.

“Amos is a very fine athlete. He’s the sort of guy who has proven to have talent and in the Olympic year he really surprised me,” said Rudisha, who plans to return to the track in Australia in March.

“He’s a good talent. This year he has dominated races and I’m looking forward to 2015. Hopefully at that time I will be fully back into my form.”

Editing by Alan Baldwin

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