Italian athletics coach insists he quit, not fired

Nairobi, Oct 7 (IANS) Italian athletics coach Claudio Berardelli has insisted that he opted not to renew his contract with Rosa & Associati, the athlete management firm at the centre of a doping crisis as opposed to being terminated.

Company director Federico Rosa announced on Monday that they had terminated the services of the coach after yet another runner in his camp, Agatha Jeruto, was slapped with a four-year ban for steroid use last week, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

However, Berardelli, who is based in Eldoret in Kenya, has trashed the claims, producing a letter addressed to him in Italian from Rosa dated August 7 where the firm accepts his decision not to continue with them after his contract expired on August 15.

“I can accept the company saying I did not watch the athletes in my camp closely enough. What I can’t accept is saying I was terminated since it was my decision to leave the company when my contract expired,” the coach said by telephone from Eldoret.

Rosa said on Monday that Berardelli is not involved in the problem and he has nothing to do with it, but was not able to pay enough attention to his own athletes.

“It is true a number of runners who were under my care have failed drug tests. But I was working with a group of over 45 runners in different camps and it is very difficult to keep watch all 24 hours a day,” said the coach.

Besides Jeruto, female marathon running star Rita Jeptoo, banned for two years in January for EPO use, and marathoner Matthew Kisorio who served a two-year suspension between 2012 and 2014, are other runners previously coached by Berardelli to fall into doping shame.

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