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Banned Kiwi Olympian Zane Robertson arrested in sexual assault probe

Police said they found an unlicensed assault rifle and 23 rounds of ammunition when questioning the disgraced New Zealand runner, who is serving an eight-year suspension for doping, at his home in Kenya

Zane robertson Photo by: Kevin Morris

Two-time New Zealand Olympian Zane Robertson, who is serving an eight-year suspension for anti-doping rule violations, was arrested last week in a sexual assault probe at his home in Kenya, where police say they found an unlicensed AK-47 assault rifle and 23 rounds of ammunition.

Robertson—who holds New Zealand’s records in the marathon (2:08:19), half-marathon (59:47) and 10K (27:28), was visited by police at his home in the town of Iten on Sept. 20 to question him about a sexual assault complaint made against the 33-year-old, according to Kenya’s Standard newspaper.

Assault rifle

Tom Makori, sub-county police commander, told the Standard authorities arrived at the house to arrest the runner for questioning in a sexual assault investigation, after a woman claimed she was victimized by Robertson at a house party the previous day. “The suspect has been living in Kenya for several years. He has bought land and built his residence. Our preliminary investigations indicate that the AK-47 in his possession was unlicensed,” Makori said.

“Police had gone to arrest him for questioning in relation to a sexual assault complaint, but he declined to open the door. Later, after the police gained entry, they discovered that he was in possession of a gun,” he added.

Police had not released an update on when, or if, Robertson will be officially charged in connection with either the sexual assault probe or the weapons arrest. “We may seek more time to conclude investigations,” said Makori.

Zane Robertson
Zane Robertson, right, in the men’s 10,000m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: Tim Hipps

The arrest comes exactly one year to the day that the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand provisionally suspended Robertson for anti-doping rule violations.

In May 2022, Robertson tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) during the Greater Manchester Run—a finding later confirmed by B-sample testing. He breached the rules for the presence and use or attempted use of the prohibited substance and for tampering, or attempted tampering, with any part of the doping control process. His attempt to submit fraudulent documents to defend himself led to another charge.

 

In March, the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand handed Robertson an eight-year suspension for the violations, making him ineligible to compete until September 2030. However, Robertson announced his retirement from professional running a month before receiving the suspension.

In addition to breaking national records, the now-disgraced runner had distinguished himself by winning bronze in the men’s 5,000m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He finished 12th in the 10,000m at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio and 36th in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon, in 2:17:04.

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