Kenyan Olympic track champion charged with assault

Police charged steeplechase world champion and former Olympic gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi with assault on Thursday after a woman he drove home was stabbed in the chest.

Kemboi denied the accusation during an appearance before a magistrate in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret. He was released on bail.

Kemboi won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics in steeplechase. He also placed first at the World Athletics Championships in South Korea last year. He is scheduled to compete at the London Games next month after finishing second at the national trials last weekend to have been included on the Kenyan Olympic team alongside defending champion Brimin Kipruto and Abel Kiprop Mutai.

The wounded woman, Ann Njeri Otieno, said that Kemboi stabbed her after she rebuffed his sexual advances at the conclusion of a night out at a bar. Otieno said Kemboi drove her to her home early Thursday, but would not let her get out of the car.

The pair began scuffling and during the fight the athlete stabbed her, she said.

"I asked him why he had locked the doors, but he said he wanted to have sex with me. I refused, and told him I cannot have sex with someone I had only known for two weeks," said Njeri. She accused Kemboi of attempting to rape her.

Kemboi said the woman and two other men colluded to rob him, and that the attackers stabbed Otieno during the attempted robbery.

"The attackers called me by name and ordered me to give them money and a scuffle ensued before one of them threw a knife at me," Kemboi said. The attackers missed their target, he added.

A hearing in the case has been set for Sept. 25.