NAIROBI, September 1 – Deputy President, William Ruto has declared stern action will be taken against coaches, managers and doctors found colluding with athletes to encourage use of banned substances in the face of damaging doping claims against the country.
Ruto, who was speaking on Tuesday when he hosted the triumphant Kenyan team to the IAAF World Championships in for breakfast at his Nairobi’s Karen residence, announced the Government has put in place measures to address the vice which threatens development of sports.
The Deputy President stated plans are underway to elevate the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya to give it full legal framework to deal with the menace that tainted the team’s splendid performance when sprinters, Joys Zakari (400m) and Fransisca Koki (400m Hurdles) failed doping tests in Beijing.
“We will not only de-register doctors taking part in this exercise but will ensure they are prosecuted,” Ruto added after leading top State officials in welcoming the team that topped the medal standings ahead of Jamaica and USA on 16 medals, 7 Gold, 6 Silver and 3 Bronze.
The contingent of 30 athletes and 16 officials that only had three of the seven gold medallists, Javelin star, Julius Yego, shock men 400m Hurdles winner, Nicholas Bett and men steeplechase king, Ezekiel Kemboi who returned home with the rest heading to Zurich for the Diamond League.
Team captain, Kemboi, who won an unrivalled fourth consecutive World 3,000m steeplechase title, led the athletes in lifting the Kenyan flag in a convoy of limousines into the Deputy President’s official residence in Karen for breakfast where they were joined by several Governors and over 50 MPs.
They later took time to take photos with the leaders and family members in Ruto’s compound before they left for another round of refreshments at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
Amidst wild cheers and laughter, Kemboi was delighted to lead the team as captain to top honours.
“We are happy that we managed to be number one overall and this is because of our hard work and dedication,” the two-time Olympic champion stated.
Yego became the first Kenyan to win gold in a field event at the Worlds with the third longest throw ever of 92.72m which was also World Lead, African and national record.
The javelin icon, who holds the Commonwealth title, said he was happy for winning the first gold in a field event.
“This is something I have been working hard for,” Yego said while cuddling his son, Jarvis.
Ruto said he was thrilled to welcome the team on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta who could not make it to the airport due to other engagements.
He announced that the Head of State will host the team for a National State breakfast on Thursday.
The Deputy President hailed the roles played by each and every athlete in making Kenya victorious, recommending Kemboi for marshalling the country into victory.
“It is through commitment and hard work of the men and women, we welcome you back home to this great country, you have made us proud. I want to congratulate all our athletes for their remarkable performance.
“Beyond the villages we come from, we are united as a country because of sporting activities. Our success and our win has brought us together as people of this great country called Kenya: that we should be proud of,” the Deputy President added.
“This team has cemented its name into athletics history, for the first time Kenya has become number one. Kenyans are ecstatic about the team, it shows how magical Kenya is, a land of opportunities.
“We are not as big as China or strongest in the world as United States of America but we are the best. We cannot hide our happiness in our nation, villages, or towns because of what our athletes have done for us.”
He said the Government has programmes that will ensure the young people excel in sporting activities.
“With better infrastructure, good training, better technicians and good managers we can become champions of the world,” he said.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Governors Cleopas Langat (Nandi), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Jackson Mandago (Uasin- Gishu), Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/ Marakwet) Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi (Nairobi) and MPs Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) Johnson Sakaja (nominated) were present.