David Okeyo, Athletics Kenya Vice-President, Under Probe By Athletic’s World Governing Body

Kenya Athletics and Nike

As the BBC reports, David Okeyo, vice-president of Athletics Kenya, is accused of siphoning funds from a sponsorship deal between the national association and Nike.

IAAF corruption probes are scrutinizing people, organizations, and state involvement in everything from taking bribes to state-sponsored doping of athletes.

The Daily Nation sums up the significance of the allegations and their possible consequences.

  • If found guilty, Okeyo would likely lose his seat as member of the IAAF council, as well as the AK vice-presidency.
  • Doping and bribery scandals are being exposed in Kenya, and so this additional charge against a Kenyan official brings Kenya into the same negative light as Russia.
  • Former IAAF president Lamine Diack, his son Papa Massata Diack, advisor Habib Cisse and the former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle are being investigated by the French Police in relation to the Russian doping scandal.
David Okeyo stood as a major figure in the IAAF. Seen here, he addresses the 50th IAAF Congress at the China National Convention Centre, CNCC on August 20, 2015 in Beijing, China.

The IAAF just recently chose David Okeyo as the Vice-President of Athletics Kenya. The job is a four-year tenure on the Governing Council.

Excitement in Kenya as an Olympic nation grew as Kenya impressed the world with six golf medals at the Beijing Olympics. Okeyo’s appointment was made in the midst of this new surge in interest in Kenyan athletics. The IAAF made the public announcement.

“As agreed between President Lamine Diack and President-elect Sebestian Coe, it is our pleasure to invite you on Aug. 30 for the joint session of the 201st IAAF Council Meetings.”

If found guilty, it would mean that Kenya and Russia are likely to have been involved in providing their athletes with performance enhancers in order to win medals and fraudulently maintain contracts with brands such as Nike.

In short, the implications go wider than just Kenya and Russia. The entire sport, globally, is under intense scrutiny as Sebastian Coe, the head of the sport’s global governing body, is urged to act due to the Russian case.

“[There is] corruption and bribery practices at the very highest level of international athletics.”

In response, Russia is “purging” figures within its system who have participated in doping as it desperately attempts to avoid a ban from participation at the world indoor championships in March and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

“We will take all measures recommended to us by Wada and the IAAF and in 60 days, or in three months, we will come to the international federation again so we can show that we’re meeting standards, and we hope our team will regain its rights.”

Russia’s cooperation means that international links will be exposed and thus evidence gathered through Russia’s cooperation will bring to light evidence of bribery and doping of other countries sharing the same contacts.

In short, the worry is that a culture of bribery and doping pervades not just Russia and Kenya, but the whole sport globally.

Kenya acting to uncover cases of bribery and doping

Kenya has a particularly high rate of athletes banned for doping. Currently 15 Kenyans are banned by the IAAF. Rita Jeptoo, three-time Boston Marathon winner, is among them.

The head of Kenya’s Olympic committee, Kipchoge Keino, is working from the inside to try to root out the parties who have participated in the system and the result has resulted so far in the allegations regarding David Okeyo and his skimming from Nike.

[Image by Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images]