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Coach John Lees banned for lifetime

A British athletics coach has been banned for life for sexual misconduct John Lees was found guilty of five charges and he admitted to other counts.

The independent appeal committee, chaired by Jane Mulcahy QC, found him guilty of five charges relating to his misconduct towards athletes.

An additional two charges were admitted by Lees, who was based in Edinburgh.

The panel concluded: “We are left with the view that [Lees] habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.”

Scottish cross-country champion Mhairi Maclennan was one of the athletes to testify against Lees.

Waiving her right to anonymity, she said: “For me, today marks what I hope to be the end of a very long journey.

“This experience has certainly tested me in ways I never imagined possible. I’m immensely proud of all the athletes that have spoken up in this case, and I stand with all athletes, past and present, from our group.

“I hope that our story helps to change the narrative and sets a precedent that athletes will no longer suffer in silence.”

Lees had appealed against the decision in February to ban him from coaching and also against the length.

On Thursday, charges against Lees were found proven by the appeal panel of sexual touching, making a sexualised comment to a female athlete, endangering an athlete’s safety by “causing injury by administering a chiropractic adjustment” and providing chiropractic adjustments while not being appropriately qualified.

The further charges admitted by Lees related to massaging an athlete at his home address when she was under 18, and making inappropriate and sexualised comments to athletes in his training group.

British athletics John Lees (pictured) has been given a life ban for sexual misconduct

UK Athletics’ (UKA) submission to the appeal panel said: “[Lees] has shown a blatant disregard for the rules and an insistence on doing things his way… he could not even acknowledge that what he did was wrong.”

The panel concluded that his conduct was “very serious”.

It added: “Further, we are very troubled by his attitude and his continuing failure… to take any responsibility or to accept his conduct was wanting in any way.

“Our unanimous view is that [his] conduct and failure to accept any need for change renders him untrustworthy and unsuitable to work as a UKA licensed coach now or in the future.

“We have therefore decided that the appropriate sanction is the permanent withdrawal of [his] UKA coaching licence.”

The panel concluded: ‘We are left with the view that he habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.’

The UKA’s interim chief executive, Mark Munro, said: ‘We are pleased with the decision by the panel.

‘Athletics cannot tolerate the type of behaviour highlighted in this case. This decision shows that the welfare is at the front and centre of UK Athletics’ and at the heart of what we stand for.’

Sasha Zhoya runs away with the 2021 European Rising Star of the Year title

European U20 110m hurdles champion Sasha Zhoya was crowned as the men Rising Star at the Golden Tracks award ceremony that was held on Saturday (16) evening in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Femke Bol from Dutch is also the European 400m hurdles record-holder Femke Bol was also feted as the women’s Rising Star.

Zhoya also went into the record books in a glorious two months in the 110m hurdles. The Frenchman clocked four of the seven fastest times in history over the barriers at U20 level, including world records of 12.93 and 12.72 at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi to chop a dizzying 0.27 off the previous record.

The 19-year-old surpassed the world U20 record at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn with 12.98 but the time could not be ratified due to a slightly illegal tailwind. However, Zhoya did revise the championship record with 13.05 in the final to win the first of two major championship gold medals this summer.

The pair were presented with their trophies by European Athletics Vice Presidents Libor Varhanik and Jean Gracia respectively.

Bol raced extensively both indoors and outdoors, winning eight successive races indoors in the 400m which culminated with gold medals in both the 400m and 4x400m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships.

She also won 11 of her 12 races in the 400m hurdles outdoors, her only loss coming when she finished third at the Olympics but in Tokyo she smashed Yuliya Pechonkina’s long-standing European record with a time of 52.03.

Summary of Golden Tracks award winners 

  • Women’s European Athlete of the Year – Sifan Hassan (NED)
  • Men’s European Athlete of the Year – Karsten Warholm (NOR)
  • Women’s Rising Star – Femke Bol (NED)
  • Men’s Rising Star – Sasha Zhoya (FRA)
  • European Athletics Community Award – Maria Andrejczyk (POL)
  • European Athletics Women’s Leadership Award – Ana Krstevska (MKD)
  • Member Federation Award – Georgina Drumm (IRL)
  • European Athletics Coaching Award – Hansruedi Kunz (SUI)

 

Purity Chepkirui to battle Faith Kipyegon at KipKeino Classic

World U20 1500m women champion Purity Chepkirui, will be taking on her mentor Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon at the KipKeino Classic set for this Saturday (18) at the Moi International Sports Centre.

Through her facebook social media account, Chepkirui declared that she will not just be meeting Kipyegon for a handshake but for a competition on the course and track that she delivered to Kenya gold that had been missing since 2012 when Kipyegon won the title during the Barcelona championships in Spain.

“Happy at last am meeting my icon mentor Faith Kipyegon…not only for face to face but in the race I loved most…1,500m. KipKeino Classic Continental Tour Gold,” wrote Chepkirui.

The young athlete who aims to compete for Kenya at the 2024 Olympic Games won the Kenyan title in a time of 4:16.07 ahead of Ethiopian Diribe Welteji who took silver with Winnie Jemutai settling for bronze in 4:16.39 and 4:18.99 respectively.

Chepkirui trains in Tiloa, Keringet area of Nakuru County under Coach Michael Siele.

The junior runner will be chasing the title alongside Kipyegon, who is the two times Olympic Games 1,500m champion.

Michael saruni to face stiff challenge at World Continental Tour

Former world record holder for the indoor 600m champion Michael Saruni face off with Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Patryk Dobek from Poland at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial that will be held on Sunday (5) in Silesia, Poland, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting.

Saruni who is Coached by the 1988 Seoul Olympics 800m gold medalist Paul Ereng, will be looking out to redeem himself after faltering at Tokyo.

Dobek is the current European Indoor 800m Champion and he must be at his best to take victory in front of his home crowd.

Others in the start lineup include, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka, USA’s Clayton Murphy and British trio Daniel Rowden, Elliot Giles and Jake Wightman.

Jemal Yimer wins Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer is the new winner of the Antrim Coast Half Marathon that was held on Sunday (29) in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The 2018 African 10000 Athletics Champion won the race 60:29 as he edged out Tesfahun Akalnew also from Ethiopia who crossed the line in second place a second later.

Kenya’s Shadrack Kimining closed the first podium three finishes in 60:31.

Marck Scott from Northern Ireland and Nigel Martin from England took the fourth and fifth place in 1:00.34 and 1:03.21 respectively

The race course record of 60:21 that was set by Mo Farah remained intact.

 

Marco Arop beats Emmanuel Korir in Lausanne meet

Biwott,Karungu take honors at Wizz Air Skopje Marathon

 In the women’s race,  Jedidah Karungu from Kenya took the honors when she cut the tape in 2:51.24 and she was followed by Croatia’s Marija Vrajic in 3:02:00 with Macedonia’s Andrijana Pop Arsova closing the podium three in a new National record of 3:05.04.

LEADING RESULTS

MEN

  1. Evans Biwott   (KEN) 2:14.08
  2. John Langat      (KEN) 2:14.48
  3. Hosea Kiprotich  (KEN) 2:28.58

WOMEN

  1. Jedidah Karungu  (KEN) 2:51.24.
  2. Croatia’s Marija Vrajic CRO) 3:02.00),
  3. Andrijana Pop Arsova (MEC) 3:05.04

 

Matolo leads a Kenyan sweep at Perlis Marathon

Kenya’s Cosmas Matolo led a fellow country-mate when they ruled at the Perlis Marathon that was held on Saturday (5) in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

The 2017 Standard Chartered KL Marathon winner cut the in 2:20.31 and was closely followed by Henry Sang eight seconds later with place going to Geoffrey Birgen of 2:20.53.

The champions received a cash prize of RM15,000 each while the runners up and third place winners took home RM12,000 and RM7,000 respectively.

LEADING RESULTS

MEN

  1. Cosmas Matolo (KEN)  2:20.31
  2. Henry Sang       (KEN)  2:20.39
  3. Geoffrey Birgen (KEN) 2:20.53
  4. Cosmas  Kimutai (KEN)  2:21.00
  5. Peter Keter            (KEN) 2:27.26

 

5 Russian walkers suspended over coach

The governing body of world athletics has suspended five Russian race walkers from competition pending further investigation of their participation in a training camp with a banned coach.

The decision to revoke the neutral status of Klavdiya Afanasyeva, Olga Eliseeva, Yuliya Lipanova, Sergey Sharypov and Sergey Shirobokov, a silver medallist from the 2017 world championships, means they will not be eligible to compete at the race walking team championships in China later this week.

Athletics’ governing body the IAAF said the decision had been made pending a probe into “a number of serious issues” related to their participation in a training camp in Kyrgyzstan last month with coach Viktor Chegin, who was banned for life from athletics over the Russian doping scandal.

Russia’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF in 2015 following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report containing allegations of state-supported doping, which Moscow has denied.

The IAAF has cleared some Russians to compete internationally as neutral athletes if they demonstrate that their training environment meets the required anti-doping standards.

The IAAF said it would review the race walkers’ status for further competitions this year once it had received more information from Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA and knew the outcome of further investigations.

Chegin had coached prominent race walkers including Olga Kaniskina, Sergei Kirdyapkin and Elena Lashmanova. These athletes all won Olympic gold medals but later served doping bans.

 

Kiprop tested positive, no mix-up – AIU

Asbel Kiprop tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug EPO, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) confirmed on Friday, refuting allegations by the Kenyan track star that his sample might have been contaminated.

Kiprop, a three-time world 1500m champion and 2008 Olympic gold medallist, on Thursday “vehemently denied” doping, suggesting an out-of-competition sample he gave could have been contaminated by two anti-doping agents he suspects might have targeted him for extortion.

The AIU, which deals with doping matters for track and field’s governing body the IAAF, responded by saying that 28-year-old Kiprop was notified on February 3 of having tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO).

“On March 16, 2018, Kiprop was charged with violations of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and the matter is currently proceeding before the independent IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal,” the AIU said in a statement.

“The AIU is satisfied that there has been no mix-up or tampering with the sample and that the sample collected from the Athlete on November 27, 2017 was the same sample analysed by the Laboratory and reported as an Adverse Analytical Finding,” it said.

However, the AIU confirmed that the doping control agent had given Kiprop advance warning of the test, an act it described as “extremely disappointing”.

But the body argued: “The advanced notice of testing given by the Doping Control Assistant could not reasonably have caused EPO to be present in Kiprop’s sample and, as such, the departure does not invalidate the Adverse Analytical Finding. This will ultimately be a matter for the Tribunal to determine.”

The AIU also rejected Kiprop’s claim that he was offered a “reward” of being an IAAF ambassador on anti-doping in return for admitting to having taken the drug.

Kiprop said on Thursday he had been left “extremely shocked” when informed of the positive test, adding: “I was however very confident the mistake alleging I doped would be noted and I would be cleared. The nightmare has continued.

“I did not dope. I do not labour under the weight of the shame of doping.”

The confirmation of the positive test deals a serious blow to Kenyan athletics, with Kiprop one of the biggest names in the country’s stellar cast of middle-distance athletes.

Kiprop originally came second in the 1 500m final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was upgraded when Rashid Ramzi tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and was stripped of the gold medal. The Kenyan went on to prove his dominance over the distance with three world titles.

Kenya has been fighting intense criticism of its anti-doping efforts after more than 40 athletes tested positive over the past five years.

Three years ago, Kenya was rated “non-compliant” by WADA before being reinstated prior to the Rio Olympics.

Reuters.com