NAIROBI, Kenya, April 25- World governing body, IAAF have agreed to set up a Blood Testing Centre (BTC) in Eldoret to serve the distance running heartlands of Kenya and Ethiopia.
Making the announcement, Athletics Kenya (AK) chair, Isaiah Kiplagat, said they were expecting the establishment of the proposed centre to have taken shape over the next three months.
At the same time, the chair disclosed plans were underway to set-up a lab in either Eldoret, the self styled athletics capital of the world or Nairobi in conjunction with both IAAF and World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) as the fight to tackle the doping scourge among Kenyan runners continues to gather momentum.
“We had a long discussion at the IAAF about the doping issue in Kenya. The matter has received a lot of attention at the IOC, WADA and IAAF.
“It has been agreed and we are waiting now, for the IAAF to back to us and set up a BTC in Eldoret. From there, we shall have biological passports for every athlete in Kenya and Ethiopia,” Kiplagat who is a Council Member at the world governing body said.
Biological passports have been turned to by authorities to unearth runners cheating since they can be used to discover changes in the blood system where up to six tests are required.
Currently, samples collected in Kenya are sent to Germany or South Africa for analysis.
“They (IAAF) are also looking with WADA to see whether they can have a lab in Kenya in Eldoret or Nairobi. We want to be ahead and make sure our athletes are clean.
“In the meanwhile, we are carrying on with education and the Medical Commission (at AK) will soon distribute a document to every athlete on how they should conduct themselves,” Kiplagat added.
The chair castigated the Government over the stillbirth of a commission appointed in January to investigate doping cases in the country is yet to get off the ground.
“I have received many emails sent from WADA centres in South Africa and Lausanne which are copied to us. We raised the issue two months ago and the Sports Commissioner said they had already allocated Sh4m.
“Up to now, we do not know and we can only wait since WADA only contracts the Government, not federations,” the chair underscored.
On February 22, AK announced Wilson Erupe Loyanae and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich would serve a suspension of two years each with Moses Kiptoo Kurgat being sanctioned for a year after both A and B samples returned positive results for proscribed substance abuse.
Erupe tested positive for EPO, or erythropoietin, in an out-of-competition test conducted last year, the first Kenyan athlete to be caught using the bannned drug hormone which increases the red blood cell count.
Kiplagat tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone, after competing in a race in Mexico.
On March 20, two more distance runners were sanctioned bringing to five the number of athletes handed competition bans in two months.
Salome Jerono Biwott who won the women’s race at the 2012 Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon in 2:26:41 and Jynocel Basweti Onyancha who took part in the 23rd Marathon International De Cullacan in Mexico on 22nd January are serving two-year bans each.