Nairobi, Oct 13 (IANS) An Italian coach charged with administering banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) to disgraced Kenyan female marathon star Rita Jeptoo has been cleared of the charges by a Nairobi court.
The ruling, delivered on Thursday at the Milimani Law Courts, acquitted Berardelli and two co-accused on charges of conspiring to injure the athlete’s profession by administering the banned substance, reports Xinhua news agency.
Barardelli, 37, was charged along with a pharmacist based in Kapsabet, Stephen ‘Kalya’ Kiplagat Tanui and his assistant coach at the time Daniel Cheribo Kiplangat.
Kiplagat was however, found guilty of running a pharmacy without a name and displaying a certificate as well as two other criminal counts.
Jeptoo was banned for four years after failing an out of competition drug test on September 25, 2014 with the 35-year-old testing positive prior to her defence of that year’s Chicago Marathon.
At the time, Jeptoo had shot to the top of the female marathon running charts after winning Boston and Chicago Marathons twice to become the first athlete to win four straight victory in the World Marathon Majors circuit.
Athletics Kenya (AK) initially handed her a two-year ban for the offence, but world athletics governing body IAAF appealed to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) seeking a longer sanction that was granted last year.
On October 26 2016, CAS upheld an appeal from the IAAF against the leniency of the two-year ban given by Athletics Kenya, and instead set a four-year ban, and the annulling of all results from Apr. 17, 2016, including her wins in the 2014 Boston and Chicago Marathons.
CAS found Jeptoo “deceptive and obstructive conduct throughout the proceedings” as aggravating factors justifying the maximum penalty.
Berardelli who has worked in Kenya for over a decade was charged in July last year having been arrested and held in custody for a week and his passport confiscated by Kenyan authorities.