Olympics on the line: Kenyan runner charged over stabbing

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi (C) leaps over the jump during the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Daegu on September 1, 2011.
Peter Parks

Kenya’s Olympic team has been thrown into turmoil with the arrest of one of its top athletes.

World 3,000 meter steeplechase champion, Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi, has been charged with allegedly stabbing a woman on Wednesday night, according to the BBC. Kemboi, who won a gold medal in 2004, is famous for his victory dances

Anne Njeri, 26, was found outside her home with a stab wound in her chest after going out drinking with Kemboi earlier in the evening. Njeri told NTV Kenya that Kemboi drove her home and attacked her when she refused to have sex with him.

However, Kemboi told police that when he dropped Njeri off at her house, thugs attacked him and she was injured in the struggle. Kemboi accused Njeri of conspiring with the thugs to rob him, reported the BBC

Njeri’s father, Paul Mwea, said that he saw a Toyota Landcruiser pull away when he opened the front gate and found her lying in a pool of blood. Mwea immediately took his daughter to the hospital, where she is now in stable condition. From her hospital bed she described the attack in detail to NTV. Kemboi’s wallet was also found at the scene.

This scandal comes at a bad time for Kemboi, a month before the Olympics are set to take place in London. Kemboi qualified for the Olympics last week when he took second in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Kenyan trials. Kemboi is favored to win at the Olympics, which would make him the second Kenyan to bring home two gold medals.

It is still uncertain whether or not Kemboi will be permitted to compete next month in London.

"According to the rules we were given by the local organizing committee, one cannot enter the UK if he or she is facing court charges of criminal nature," a member of Team Kenya told Reuters.

However, Kemboi’s lawyer Michael Chemwok maintains that Kemboi “still plans to go the Olympics and he's not affected at all," reported The Telegraph.

Kemboi, who also serves as a policeman, was questioned for over four hours by police on Thursday morning in Eldonet, a town close to Iten where many high performance distance runners train, reported Reuters. He has been released on bail for the equivalent of $595 and the case has been adjourned until September 25.

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