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Govt slams AK boss for dismissing doping problem

KIPLAGAT-LAMINENAIROBI, Kenya, October 17-Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Kiplagat, has been indicted by a government Anti-Doping Taskforce of not taking doping matters seriously despite 32 Kenyan runners testing positive for banned substances with 17 of them failing tests between 2012 and 2013 alone.

The numbers of positive drug busts in athletics far outstrip any other local discipline that was subjected to investigations by the probe committee led by Professor Moni Wekesa.

“It is the Taskforce’s view that the AK president was disrespectful, treated the matter lightly and in contempt and appears not to take doping matters and the allegations against the Kenyan athletes seriously.

“The AK president does not seem to understand the gravity of doping in athletics. In view of the numerous doping cases in athletics, the task force would have expected better from the president,” the report released Friday by Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario reads.

The report quoted heavily from a controversial German television, ARD documentary that exposed widespread use of systematic doping by Kenyan runners keen to bridge the gap between the elite in 2012 that put Kiplagat on the warpath.

“Some athletes who have tested positive also implicated specific shops and chemists as reported in the ARD documentary. It was observed the sources of prohibited substances included prescriptions from hospitals/doctors, pharmacies and chemists,” Prof. Wekesa’s findings added.

The taskforce was alluding to the case of Kenya’s captain for the 2011 Punta Umbria World Cross in Spain, Matthew Kosorio, who has since resumed competition after serving a two-year doping ban after he was filmed by ARD admitting to doping prevalence among Kenyan runners although the athlete who has won three local races since his comeback later denied having accused his contemporaries.

“Some of these positive cases were actually due to innocent use of prohibited substances through treatment. The athletes in questions failed to declare to anti-doping authorities that they had been treated with certain drugs.

“In certain other cases however, there appears to be deliberate use of these prohibited substances e.g. the EPO cases. None of the cases that tested for EPO required that drug for treatment,” the investigations disclosed.

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While acknowledging AK has held annual seminars since 2012 where active and retired elite athletes have been targeted to stop the doping scourge, Wekesa’s Taskforce faults the federation of failing to provide education and awareness to upcoming and junior athletes.

Speaking to Xinhua, Kiplagat declined to comment on the accusations leveled against him and his federation saying, “I have not read the full report and when I do, I will react to it fully.”

According to correspondence attached in the appendix part of the report between the president and Taskforce, the AK boss declined two summonses by the committee to appear before them.

In his letter, Kiplagat told the committee there was nothing ” I can add on the subject since the Medical Commission at AK has enough material to provide the Taskforce and we can only discuss matters relating to positive tests in my office, not outside.”

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