For the last one year former Barcelona marathon champion Philip Kangogo has been battling with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) where he has been forced to sign that he has agreed that he doped and receive lesser punishment.
But the adamant Kangogo has warned that he will not negotiate his ban for use of prohibited substances, which is a violation of anti-doping rules.
Kangogo, the former Kass marathon winner claimed that AIU officials have been negotiating with him so that his ban period will be shorter compared to when he will refuse to sign the document, accepting that he has doped.
With Kangogo declaring that he doesn’t have money to hire a lawyer, the AIU last month hired a lawyer for him on pro bono (read at the end) with several mails sent by Laura Gallo.
He says that he was shocked in 2019 when he was told that his tested sample tested positive for Higenamine, which Wikipedia describes it as a chemical compound found in a variety of plants or fruits.
It further states that Higenamine is found as an ingredient in sports and weight loss of dietary supplements sold in the USA. The US food and drugs Administration has received reports of advance effects from Higenamine containing supplements since 2014.
When he received the news of his positive results during the super time with his family, he was shocked, hence failing to eat because he knew very well that he was and he has been running clean.
“Immediately I received the shocking news, I went direct to google to understand what Higenamine was. Thanks to google, I got the answer and decided to talk to them and availed the traditional medicine that I had used,” said Kangogo in his Mororia home in Elgeyo Maratkwet County.
He narrates that the AIU officials forced him to find out on what the herbs he had used.
Under the Kalenjin culture, he says it not advisable for young people to know how traditional medicine process is procured.
He said he had to convince the elderly woman to take him to the bush and find out the roots and leaves of the said drug.
“I engaged elders from the community, I went and convinced her that research is being done on her medicine and might be the greatest herbalist in the world. Through that, the older woman accepted to take me to the bush where we dug the roots and presented to them for testing. Since that time, they kept quiet and I was left with many questions,” said Kangogo.
To make matters worse, since 2019, the woman kept on asking where her medicine went and what were they doing with it and she died without getting any information.
“What pains me most is that the herbalist died without any information. I am guilty both for her and what I did to her. She died and I knew I was lying to her knowing very well the information we gave her was false,” he added.
He says that since 2019 when AIU advised him to stop training after he was tested positive, the runner has been under stress not knowing what to do yet it is almost two years without receiving a ban.
He added that he doesn’t want to go for the sample B testing, which has never been beneficial to any athlete in the country.
“I don’t want to go for sample B. if they mixed the samples then I am ready for the consequences,” he said.
He says that some AIU officials have been advising him to accept that he doped and negotiate on the terms of his ban. He says that according to the conversation, they want him to accept the ban and get less punishment.
But adamant Kangogo is optimistic that he did not dope and if he did, he is ready to face the consequence of his actions.
“I don’t want to negotiate on my ban. If am found guilty, I should face the full force of the law. Am not special and better than the others who have fallen. If I will be banned, I will have an opportunity to tell fellow athletes that the herbs we are using is prohibited in sports,” added Kangogo.
He says that the herbs are used by the majority of athletes during the massage and other ailments.
“If I will be banned be it four or two years, I will be the ambassador for change, telling athletes to avoid the herbs,” he said.
Kangogo runs an athlete youth training camp back in his farm and after he was stopped from training, life has changed even for the athletes since he can’t mingle with them freely.
“I have been telling young athletes to run clean and if am found I will have the same message,” he said.
With Kangogo stating that he lacks financial muscle to hire a lawyer to handle his case, last week, AIU appointed a lawyer, Ian Brownhill.
According to Gallo, she sent an email that reads “Sports Regulation has confirmed that Mr Ian Brownhill of 39 Essex Chambers has accepted to assist you on a pro bono basis. If not already done, he will contact you shortly,” read.
Head of case Joshua Ingham Headland ail read in part “….I write further to email correspondence and note the request for a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal, made on Mr Kangogo’s behalf…”
On August 4th, Kangogo wrote that he has accepted the one year ban to educate other athletes on the dangers of the herbs he used.
“I agree the offer to serve the one year ban in the process to educate and share the story to my fellow athletes.”
But Brownhill responded saying that he has had an email from Tony Jackson at AIU-, who explained the offer on an argument previously.
“…In practical, that would mean you serve 1-year ban from 31 July 2020 the ban ending 31 July 2021. If we go to the hearing, that offer is not available. The AIU will ask for you to be banned until 18th June 2022,” read Brownhill email.