NAIROBI, August 10 – Former world marathon record holders, Wilson Kipsang and Tegla Loroupe are among top athletes who called for drug cheats to be named as the doping scandal sparked by German TV, ARD and Sunday Times spilled to the second week.
The British publication claimed on Sunday seven out of 12 London Marathon winners in an unspecified period had Abnormal Blood Profiles (ABP) that suggested doping although the did not disclose the runners.
A week earlier together with ARD, they exposed lurid allegations that accused Kenyan runners of systematic use of performance enhancing substances following leaked material from world body IAAF that had 12,000 athletes with suspicious blood patterns.
In response, the athletes warned complicity and lack of meaningful action by authorities would lead to the collapse of a sport that has brought international acclaim and huge economic gain.
“Athletes in this country have decided to work together to make sure we control the issue of doping since it is really taking a different direction. The recent released report from the German guy is somehow shocking and not going very well.
“When it is released just before the World Championships and an issue is generalised that Kenyan and Russian athletes are doping, I don’t think it’s good. We should respect the bodies given the mandate to take control of such issues,” Olympics marathon bronze winner and two-time London and New York titleholder, Kipsang told.
“There are rules and regulations set pertaining doping issues and when they conduct a test and the results come out clean, we should try to trust.
“Almost 96 percent of athletes are clean and if we generalise, we are spoiling the whole sport when somebody says Kenyan athletes. Who in particular?” the chairman of the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya who will run the ultimate distance race for his nation at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing stressed in calling for cheats to be named and banished from the sport.
He slammed the Kenyan Government and national federation, Athletics Kenya (AK) for failing to ensure stricter management of the sport that had provided the loopholes for “the few cheats” and foreigners to escape with impunity.
“We should try to make sure we control the whole issue and create awareness for many athletes. Some of these guys coming from outside come to Kenya and take advantage of the ignorance of some of the athletes and ask for information and they know nothing.
“That kind of information comes later on to damage our sport,” Kipsang who ran the 2:03:26 marathon world record at the 2013 Berlin race before it was broken a year later underscored.
– Cattle rustlers-
Loroupe who is an award winning global ambassador for peace was more scathing, comparing dope cheats to cattle rustlers that have brought huge loss of life and destitution among the warring communities of the volatile North Rift region of Kenya.
“There is no difference between the cattle raiders from Pokot and Turkana communities and the athlete who dopes. Already, you have stolen from someone else’s money through cheating meaning you are a thief who will leave no legacy in the sport.
“Athletes should question whatever they are given for example supplements but for senior athletes to be caught is such a shame. If I was doping, I would not be a Laureus ambassador for peace,” the former three-time World Half Marathon champion added.
“It’s shameful for Kenyan athletes to be involved in drugs. During my time, there were no positive cases and we would compete even with some Europeans who were found to have cheated and succeed because we wanted to run clean.
“Let us not point the federation alone; the Government should come in especially the Ministry of Foreign affairs and that of Sport because we need to know who these people bringing drugs are. We don’t manufacture these things.
“When they get you in Italy, you go to prison. If they get you in China, you go in and therefore, our Government should be tough. We have to take tough action,” the two-time Rotterdam Marathon winner urged.
Douglas Wakiihuri, the first Kenyan male to win the World and Commonwealth marathon titles echoed Kipsang’s remarks generalising Kenyan runners was undeserved as he called on those behind the documentary to stop shielding those involved.
“If they have the proof and the names of those who have been doing so, why aren’t they not giving them out? The person who did the interview (Hajo Seppelt) and he knows who is doping should bring those people forward” the 1987 World and 1991 Commonwealth Games winner asserted.
He called on tighter control of those permitted to deal with Kenyan runners from abroad and the sport in general.
“I bet if you go to Europe and say you want to become an agent, you’ll definitely go through a lot of scrutiny and tests before you qualify. What we need to do is have good control of our athletes and get good structures.
“We are very free, everyone comes to our Trials, pick our athlete and boom! There you go! The next thing we hear is an athlete has doped. We need the Government to ensure we have a proper register of where our athletes are training and going,” Wakiihuri advised.
The explosive ARD report claimed more than 800 athletes, including 18 Kenyans, had “suspicious blood test results” between 2001 and 2012.