Athletics Kenya (AK) have withdrawn from the appeals hearing involving suspended Kenyan athlete Rita Jeptoo, the Boston and Chicago marathon winner, just hours before the start of a hearing into the athlete's doping case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In a letter to CAS seen by AthleticsAfrica.Com, Athletics Kenya's lawyer Elias Masika Juma of the TRIPLEOKLAW LLP said several obstacles, also cited by Jeptoo's lawyers who earlier withdrawn from the case, would hinder Rita Jeptoo from getting a fair trial and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and CAS had no sympathy for the athlete's situation.
"In the face of the withdrawal of her Advocates from further representing her in the matter...we do not agree with the Court's decision to insist on proceeding on with the hearing of the appeal despite the various positions advanced in opposition to tomorrow's hearing by her Counsel on record," the letter stated.
"The letter also stated that the arrest of the Athlete's former Manager, Federico Rosa and her former Coach, Claudio Berardelli who, by reason of their incarceration as above cannot be subjected to cross examination during the hearing is extremely critical to the case.
"The centrality of the above evidence to the eventual outcome of the two appeals is obvious. As the two are now in detention and definitely not available for cross-examination, their absence deprives Athletics Kenya of a huge opportunity to establish celiain fundamental matters which are necessary for not only this appeal but also in its engagement with the duo given their involvement in matters of athletics in Kenya and especially as the country prepares for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.
"As a Federation that is aware of the Athlete's level of education, we are not without sympathy to her present circumstances. In her email sent to CAS today and copied to us, the Athlete stated thus:
"Hii me Rita Jeptoo because of problems of the appeal. Mumenisumbua sana always very low. very difficult no lawyer to help me no hope no justice. Not . You promise me to help with a pro bono lawyer but lots of problems right now. coming alone, Need lawyer please.
"To paraphrase the Athlete, she is saying that she is disturbed a great deal because of the problems arising from the appeal. It would appear that she is not even aware that there are two appeals facing her! She decries the lack of justice in this matter. She is hopeless. She asks for a lawyer as she is coming alone. We are not sure even where she claims she is going to.
"The presumption is that she is going to the hearing. And where was this hearing to which she is going to have taken place? It was at Strathmore University via videoconference. She seems even not aware that the said facility is no longer available because of the declaration of 7th Juiy, 2016 a Public holiday!"
Rita Jeptoo, who won won Boston marathon in 2006, and back-to-back Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon titles in 2013 and 2014, has denied doping.
Jeptoo, who dropped out of school in primary level (Standard Six), found her footing in athletics and rose to stardom, from where she is about to fall.
According to The Standard Digital, Jeptoo's husband Noah Busienei said she is a victim of "messed up athletics world".
"It hurts me to see her suffering and being shamed as a cheat. It hurts more that she was lured out of our matrimonial home after I raised questions about her decision to leave Gianni’s camp," said Busienei.
"At the time, I felt something was not right. Unfortunately, our relationship got strained and we separated after a court tussle. She was led to believe that I didn’t want her to prosper by opposing her switch from the previous camp."
Read the full text of Athletics Kenya letter to CAS