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Suspended agent talks to JTG as Kenyan doping investigation continues

Last week, Athletics Kenya announced it was suspending two leading athletics agencies for six months while it continues to investigate doping among its elite athletes. The two agencies — Rosa & Associati, run by Italians Gabriele and Federico Rosa and Volare Sports, run by Dutchman Gerard van de Veen — manage many of Kenya’s best athletes. 

AK president Isaiah Kiplagat told a news conference: “AK has decided to suspend two agents for the time being so that investigations can be carried out and, when the results are out, we will decide whether they come back or not.”

Gerard van de Veen, who manages the two favourites for Sunday’s London Marathon — Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang — had not previously made any public comment about the suspensions, but agreed to speak to JumpingTheGun last weekend in Boston. 

Cathal Dennehy: What was your reaction to the suspension?

Gerard van de Veen: I was reading it in the paper. I think [the news is] coming, but we’ll see. They say six months (suspension), but let me first see what they mention, then I want to see what I do. When it was announced in the papers, that was the first time I’ve seen it.

CD: Do you know when you’ll find out the details of the suspension?

GvdV: As soon as I know all the ins and outs, then I can give a reaction, then I have to see what I can do.

CD: Are you still able to manage your athletes, Wilson [Kipsang] and Dennis [Kimetto]?

GvdV: Yeah, my colleagues can work, in Kenya, but let’s say most of the races are outside of Kenya, with athletes coming to Europe or USA.

CD: So it’s only in Kenya where you’ll be denied access to them?

GvdV: I don’t know what is allowed and not allowed; that is why I’ll have to know all the ins and outs and see what are the rules.

CD: How have your athletes reacted, such as Dennis and Wilson. Are they upset?

GvdV: They are very upset. I was reading in the papers, they don’t agree with it.

CD: Will it interrupt their preparations for London?

GvdV: It doesn’t disturb them. They are strong enough. Their training has gone well, as far as I know.

CD: Are you going to London?

GvdV: I will go to watch the race, for sure. I cannot work but I can watch the race.

CD: Are there restrictions on what you can do outside of Kenya?

GvdV: I don’t know.

CD: The report said that there has been investigations into one of the groups that had its agents suspended. Are you aware of any investigations that have taken place into your group, or your athletes?

GvdV: As far as I know, not yet.

CD: No panel, nothing? Have AK spoken to you at all?

GvdV: No

CD: Would you stand over your group in Kenya, in that it’s being run in the right manner?

GvdV: I can speak for myself. I know the way I’m working. For example, you have to sign, every year, a new contract with your athlete, and part of that is rules about doping. All my athletes now, when they use doping – [they are thrown] out, [and can] never come back.

CD: Is it you who writes that contract and who put that clause in?

GvdV: We have a special clause for doping. It says when we discover athletes are using dope or there are rumours, then we investigate and when it is true, then it is directly out.

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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