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« on: August 08, 2018, 08:56:40 pm »

NAIROBI, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- An Italian manager who was acquitted of charges related to doping on Tuesday stated his intention to continue operating in Kenya despite the distress caused by the allegations and subsequent legal action.

Federico Rosa, a director of leading athletics agency firm Rosa Associati, was set free by a Nairobi court on Tuesday after the State withdrew charges of causing harm to the profession of two athletes, Elijah Kiprono and Rita Jeptoo, by administering prohibited substances.

"The nightmare is over today the prosecutor has determined the end of the case and acquitted me since there aren't any charges and no evidence against me. This is one of the most amazing days of my life.

"Thanks again from my heart to you all that had my back and you gave me courage in this terrible experience," the Italian wrote after the charges facing him were dropped.

"The accused is hereby discharged and the security documents to be returned to the depositors and sureties discharged. The cash bail to be refunded to the depositor. The passport of the accused is to be returned to him," Kibera Law Courts Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi said in the verdict to dismiss the case against the Italian manager.

Federico, who had been out on a 5,000 U.S. dollar bail, quickly left the courts moments after he was set free. The ordeal started on July 1 when officers ransacked his hotel room in the northwestern town of Eldoret during the Kenyan Trials for Rio 2016 Olympics.

In acquitting Federico, the State reserved its rights under Kenyan law to re-arrest the Italian should further evidence to support the charges surface, but it is highly unlikely after one of the accusers Jeptoo had her ban extended to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month for use of banned blood booster EPO.

The CAS ruling in support of an appeal lodged by world governing track-and-field body IAAF against the initial two-year ban slapped on Jeptoo by Athletics Kenya. The disgraced female marathon used performance enhancing drugs without the knowledge of her then manager Federico.

Rosa Associati star athletes, led by Beijing 2008 Olympics men 1500m gold winner and three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop, celebrated the release of their manager.

"Grateful to God. I pray that his accusers will one day find in their hearts to confess what their intention was. I'm sorry I said the manager was innocent. But no one could hear me," Kiprop wrote on his official Facebook wall.

"Congratulations on winning over the greatest challenge and worst experience you ever experience. Thank God for the truth," the Beijing 2015 world champion added in a comment to a post on the same social media platform by his manager hailing the release.

Rosa appeared to pardon his accusers in his lengthy post with earlier reports suggesting he was mulling taking legal action against them for tainting his reputation by falsely accusing him of doping runners under his management.

"I'm sorry instead for those little people, mediocre, who are dissatisfied with their lives that have speculated on this matter without knowing anything, saying to them. I don't wish them to go through what I went through because they don't deserve it," he added in a post translated from his native Italian.

Federico, who is the son of Rosa Associati founder and veteran manager Dr. Gabrielle Rosa, faced six counts of charges related to doping and ruining the reputations of two Kenyan athletes.

Initially, he was held together with his aging father who was not charged when he first appeared in a Nairobi court in mid July and his passport seized.

The court allowed Federico to travel to Brazil for the Rio Olympics.

The Rosas run three high performance training camps in Eldoret, Kaptagat and Kapsabet that have churned champions such as 2008 Beijing Olympics women 1500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat, Osaka 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei, three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel and Kiprop among a slew of others.

The collapse of the Federico case could have implications on the ongoing trial of his compatriot and former employee coach Claudio Berardelli, who is facing similar charges, alongside five locals. Beradelli's case will be heard on Dec. 5.

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