ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan 3,000 meters steeplechase world champion and London Olympic medal hopeful Ezekiel Kemboi is involved in a police investigation into a violent attack, senior officials said on Thursday.
Kemboi, who won Olympic gold in Athens in 2004 and subsequently won the World Championships titles in Berlin and Daegu in 2009 and 2011, qualified for the London Games last weekend.
“Kemboi came to the station and recorded a statement that he was attacked by thugs, but we are investigating the matter,” Isaac Musyoki, head of criminal investigations in Uasin Gishu county, told reporters.
Local media quoted a woman called Ann Njeri from hospital in the town of Eldoret as saying that she had been drinking with Kemboi until late on Wednesday night and that the runner attacked her when she declined his advances.
The Chef de Mission of the Kenyan team to London, Jonathan Koskei, said they were aware of the allegations that the athlete had been accused of attacking a woman, but said they were waiting for more information.
“We are treating the matter as rumors until the athlete is arrested and then we shall take appropriate action,” said Koskei, himself a senior police officer.
Kemboi, who is also a police officer, ran the seventh fastest steeplechase of all time in Monaco last year, clocking 7 minutes 55.76 seconds.
The London Olympics gets underway with the opening ceremony on July 27.
Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by David Clarke and Patrick Johnston