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Oct 23, 2012, 03.56 PM IST | Source: Reuters

Assault charge against Olympic champion Kemboi dropped

KENYA-ATHLETICS-KEMBOI:Assault charge against Olympic champion Kemboi dropped

ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - An assault charge against Kenyan 3,000 metres steeplechase world and Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi has been dropped after his accuser withdrew the case, saying she had "forgiven" the athlete.

Kemboi was facing charges of assaulting Ann Njeri, who said in June that the runner attacked her with a knife when she declined his advances after they had been drinking together.

Kemboi rejected the accusation, saying he was innocent.

The flamboyant Kemboi, a police officer, was allowed by Kenya's Olympic Committee to participate in the London Olympics in August.

Kemboi announced his retirement from the track moments after his victory to start a marathon career.

His accuser said she wanted to focus on her career.

"I want to go back to university to pursue journalism and I have forgiven Kemboi out of my own free will," Njeri told reporters on Tuesday outside the Eldoret Principal Magistrate's court.

"I have not been compensated whatsoever but I've just decided to forgive him."

The magistrate, Francis Kiambiya, had earlier accepted the case's withdrawal.

Kemboi, who was in court, did not speak to reporters.

The alleged incident reminded many Kenyans of the death of Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru in May 2011.

Wanjiru, 24, won Kenya's first men's marathon gold in Beijing in 2008 but plunged to his death from the first-floor balcony of his home after a domestic dispute.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by James Macharia)

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