NAIROBI, Kenya, February 13 – Over 300 athletes and coaches were sensitised on the harmful use of banned substances in an anti-doping seminar conducted by Athletics Kenya (AK) Friday in Nairobi, on the eve of IAAF Permit National Cross Country Championships cum World Cross Trials at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.
The athletes who included convicted 2012 drugs cheat; Mathew Kisorio, women’s 5000 m Commonwealth Champion Mercy Cherono and veteran Frankfurt marathon champion; Mark Kiptoo were also educated on doping control procedures in line with the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) code.
Africa Zone 5 Regional Anti-Doping Agency Executive Manager, Christine Mugera; urged athletes to win clean and avoid banned substances while issuing a warning to the Athlete’s Representatives they face stiff penalties if found responsible for the abetting the vice.
“AK has taken a bold step in organising this event to address the doping issues. This is a forum where we had athletes who have never been educated before.
“The athletes were highlighted on what is expected of them and be familiar with the doping control process so that they can have easier time when they make decisions about doping,” Mugera said.
She added, “We are advocating for clean sport and our message is that we want athletes to have education so that they can make decisions that will aid their careers but ruin it. Many athletes globally win clean so the few agents that are ruining the sport are the one that we are tasked with eliminating.”
Anti- Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) secretariat representative, Caroline Mungai said the seminar was important to the newly formed organisation since it will help them protect clean runners.
“It’s a good start, ADAK’s role is protecting the athletes and ensuring no one is over advantaged than the other, those who assist and caught doping will be punished. AK has taken a bold step in addressing the issues on doping,” Mungai stated.
Dr. Victor Bargoria who is an orthopaedic surgeon; guided the athletes on the banned substance in accordance with the WADA code.
Kenya has been rocked by a huge spike in positive doping bans over the last three years with 32 cases confirmed including the high profile two-year international ban for blood booster EPO use for three-time Boston and two-time Chicago marathons women champion, Rita Jeptoo (pictured).
AK was accused of complicity in dealing with the doping menace with WADA threatening to have the country banned from participating in the Olympics and IAAF World Championships if the menace if not brought under control last year.
Kenya will selected a team of 24 for the IAAF World Cross in Guiyang, China following the Trials that will be held at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.
Over 390 entrants including 26 from 11 foreign countries will take part in the showdown.