Nairobi, Aug 14 (IANS) The Kenyan sprint coach expelled from the Rio Olympics has denied he was intentionally impersonating as men’s 800-metre athlete Ferguson Rotich at a dope test.
John Anzra, in a move to explain the circumstances that led to his expulsion upon arrival here on Saturday, said he was a victim of “confusion” by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) officials, reports Xinhua.
“We arrived in Rio on August 6 with other technical members of the Kenyan team and were taken to a three-bedroom residential house and dumped there by NOCK officials without basic amenities, including food,” Anzra told journalists.
“We could not even have a meal until 3 p.m. on Monday and we were not issued with accreditation to the Games village since Kenya had exhausted their quota allocation of 36 passes,” he said.
The coach was sent back home on the next flight available after he was caught wearing the accreditation badge of Rotich, who was subjected to dope test after which he signed the relevant documents.
“I tried to explain to them that I was not Rotich but they took the accreditation and started walking away to the station that was about 50 metres away. I immediately instructed (fellow coach Joseph) Mosonik to go and explain to Rotich that I was being held hostage with his card,” he claimed.
“At that moment I was buying time for Mosonik to come with the athlete, a team Kenya official and maybe a doctor. They put me in a room, asked for my sample and I refused to give it to them trying to explain to them I wasn’t Rotich,” Anzra added.
“Luckily the athlete came and proved using his passport that the accreditation was his and he went in and continued with the procedure,” Anzrah told reporters.
“If I had not bought time for Rotich, he would have probably been banned for refusing to take the urine test,” the retired former national sprint champion underscored.
Anzra has not yet been apprehended and it is not clear what the authorities are considering to do with him.
He said they could only access the Athletes Village at Rio by use of a daily pass which did not guarantee them of breakfast or lunch.
“On Wednesday, Ferguson Rotich sympathised with me and gave me his badge to enable me have some breakfast, and as soon as I was through with the meal, three men who turned out to be doping control officers approached me that I accompany them since they had earmarked Rotich for an out-of-competition dope test,” Anzra said.
The coach said he tried to reason with them that he was not Rotich, but they insisted, and “I had no choice other than to succumb to their demands”.
“The incident happened on Wednesday, it was very cold. We left the house for the (Olympics) Village and were given a day’s pass that could be revoked at any moment,” he explained.
“The athletes were very sympathetic with the coaches and they gave us their accreditation cards to use at the restaurant for meals.”
“I went back to the Village and I met my Chef-de-Mission to enquire about my accreditation, then he raised the issue about what had happened earlier. I explained what the issue was and he told me that this could easily get me deported but I brushed it off,” he continued.
“I did not give my urine sample as they are alleging and I can challenge them to produce one because Rotich at the moment has four samples. Two for blood and two for urine. I, however, signed a form in the process with the guise of buying time for the athlete to avail himself at the doping station.”