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Kiplagat urges life ban for cheats

SILAS-KIPLAGATNAIROBI, Kenya, January 13- Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Silas Kiplagat is stroking controversy after asserting that any athlete found doping should be banned for life.

The 24-year-old said Monday it was a joke by global athletics governing body (IAAF) to award a four-year ban for first offenders, which is in fact double the penalty for the offenders at the moment.

“For me any athlete found doping should be dealt with fast. There is no room for cheaters in sports and we need to weed them out.

“You will never find me doing drugs. I run clean and will always maintain the same. The IAAF should change their penalty from four years to lifetime ban,” said Kiplagat.

With Kenya having been on the back pedal to admonish offenders, Kiplagat believes stiffer penalty will with time force the cheaters out and leave the sport clean.

However, that is not the only regret Kiplagat is facing, especially after he failed to win gold at the World Championships in Moscow in August last year.

Five months after a disappointing sixth place finish at the World Championships, Kiplagat has opened the lid on what caused the shock performance.

“I was overconfident. Nothing more, it was all about my confidence levels and I never realised how bad complacence can take one. I was in the best form of my time, I had run faster in Monaco and in training and I knew I could win gold for Kenya.

“But that is the prize one pays for overlooking the other small issues in preparing for the race. I was out of breath in the final straight and couldn’t believe me finishing sixth. But that is already past, the focus is on the future and I want to be remembered by that,” said Kiplagat in Eldoret.

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His focus is successfully defending his gold at both the World Indoor Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

“I have learnt my mistakes. In this world of athletics, a small mistake cost you a leg. But I will be back,” he said.

Kiplagat is one of the few athletes from Kenya who are keen to pursue their career in the indoor circuit.

He has pencilled his fist race on February 2 in Moscow Indoor Championships having shifted his training base to Eldoret with his training partner Olympics and World Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi.

“I think am amazed with the determination and success that Kemboi is showing. At his age and he is still at the top of the game. He is my partner, mentor and friend and we enjoy running together.

“We want to dominate the 2014 season together and I believe I stand to learn a lot from him if we train together. Kemboi has been around for over a decade and he has shown how disciplined he is by constantly beating his opponents, sometimes when nobody was giving him a chance,” said Kiplagat.

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