Agents of world-record holder Dennis Kimetto, others suspended

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Kenya's athletics federation suspended the agents of marathon world-record holder Dennis Kimetto and other top stars Monday while it investigates the spike in doping among the country's runners.

Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat said the federation had decided to suspend athlete management companies Volare Sports of the Netherlands and Rosa & Associati of Italy from working in the country for six months pending the investigations.

"When the results are out, we will decide whether they [the agents] come back," Kiplagat said.

Federico Rosa of Rosa & Associati said he had not been informed of the decision by AK.

AK did not make specific accusations against the two companies, which represent world-record holders and Olympic and world champions and have a long history of working with Kenyan runners. Kenyan authorities have previously blamed the rise in doping on the influence of some foreign agents, who they say facilitated doping.

Rosa & Associati represented women's marathon star Rita Jeptoo, who was banned for two years in January after testing positive for the blood booster EPO. Rosa, Jeptoo's agent, denied any involvement in doping then. He was called to give evidence at Jeptoo's disciplinary hearing.

Jeptoo was the highest-profile athlete involved in the recent doping cases in Kenya, with more than 30 athletes sanctioned for using performance-enhancing drugs in the past five years, according to the federation.

More doping cases had been discovered among Volare Sports' athletes, Kiplagat said Monday. He said he could not identify any of the runners while the investigations are ongoing.

Volare Sports, which is headed by Dutch agent Gerard van der Veen, represents Kimetto, former marathon world-record holder Wilson Kipsang and two-time New York Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai, among others.

Some of the runners Rosa & Associati represent are current 1,500-meter world champion and 2008 Olympic gold-medal winner Asbel Kiprop, women's 800 world champion Eunice Sum and former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei.

"I cannot believe what has just happened," Kiprop said of the decision to suspend his representatives. "Low athletes doping has now affected even us at the top who are clean and train hard to win. I have never used drugs."