Olympic gold medalist, Conseslus Kipruto, is facing a 20-year jail term after being charged with having sex with a minor in Kenya.
Appearing in court on Monday, the 25-year-old pleaded not guilty to a charge of ‘defilement’.
According to the Kenyan sexual offence laws, a minor is anyone under the age of 18, making Mr Kipruto’s potential term high because the girl involved in the allegations is 15.
The charge sheet, as reported by Associated Press, states that Mr Kipruto had sex with the girl on October 20 and 21.
The steeplechase champion was arrested on November 11 while his case would reportedly be heard in May.
A courthouse in the Great Rift Valley town of Kapsabet, a region of Kenya famous for its distance runners, heard Mr Kipruto make his not guilty plea this week.
He was granted a bail for a cash sum worth roughly £1,360.
Police officers reportedly attempted to prevent photographers from taking pictures of Mr Kipruto as he arrived in court, wearing a red sweatshirt with hood and a coronavirus mask to cover his face.
The Kenyan’s trial is expected to come just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.
Mr Kipruto, who also works as a police officer, shot to fame with victory in the 2000-metre steeplechase in the 2011 World Youth Championships.
In 2016, he won the 3000m steeplechase at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics before winning gold at both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.
He was forced to withdraw from a Diamond League meeting in Monaco earlier this year while suffering from coronavirus.